In 2011 one of the biggest political events in the world, the Arab Spring, swept across North Africa. But what came next? As the world moves on, four young Tunisians must cope with the reality of an uncertain future in this original graphic novel.
Winner of the Raymond Leblanc Foundation’s Belgian Prize, and translated into English for the first time, Helene Aldeguer delivers an authentic look at the disillusioned state of young people in Tunisia after the events of the Arab Spring illustrated in stark, beautiful black-and-white.
Two years after the “Jasmine Revolution,” Tunisia is unstable and facing economic hardship. Saif, Aziz, Meriem, and Chayma are among those who feel abandoned by the developing turmoil surrounding the government. Saif goes to college but worries about his younger brothers; Aziz struggles to find steady employment hoping to gain approval from Meriem’s family, while Meriem attends law school; and Chayma, after watching a man set himself on fire, considers emigration to France. As the situation becomes more serious and calls to activism in the streets get louder, each must consider what direction their future lies.
Helene Aldeguer spent time in Tunis in October, 2014 covering the parliamentary elections and living among the youth of the city and working alongside Tunisian journalists from Nawaat, an independent collective blog that provided a public platform for dissident voices and was blocked in Tunisia until 2011. Her work focuses on political and social issues related mainly to the Arab-Muslim world and includes the book Un Chant d’Amour: Israel-Palestine, une histoire francaise with writer Alain Gresh and illustrations for the website Orient XXI, which covers news events in countries from North Africa to the Middle East. She was selected for the Young Talent Contest at the Angoulême International Comics Festival in 2016 for her work, “2011-2016, Resume of a Revolution.”
“These are sweeping and complicated matters and I caution that one reading of the book may not be adequate to cement everything in your brain into anything resembling a cohesive map of recent Tunisian political history. But Aldeguer does an astonishing job of bringing these elements together into one book, and not an overlong one at that. It’s a reminder that revolutions are about ordinary people, that oppression is about ordinary people, that riots are about ordinary people, that police states and government crackdowns are about ordinary people. We can bandy around political philosophies and lines in the sand, but most conflicts are about ordinary people trying to overcome the quagmires created by politics that do no service to their survival, and Aldeguer’s story skillfully pushes that truth into human terms we can all embrace.” —The Beat