15 August 2017
The Social Forum at Rototom Sunsplash reflects together with Mohamed Ben Cheikh on the importance of dialogue and consensus in the case of the revolutions in Tunisia
Dialogue and consensus, these were the two words most repeated by the Nobel Peace Prize 2015 winner, Mohamed Ben Cheikh. The two words spoken the most times and the two unique bases proposed as a way of resolving any conflict. This was the focus that was discussed at the Social Forum at Rototom Sunsplash in its #celebratingafrica.
Mohamed Ben Cheikh has carried out a full analysis and contextualisation on the Tunisian conflicts, and in this way, dialogue became the only way to resolve them. Since the first appearances of peace when the Tunisians decided to occupy the streets and show their disagreement in a peaceful way: “If a people aspire to be free, destiny has to correspond with it”, said Mohamed Ben Cheikh. Peaceful protests, from which a constitution and a representative government were derived in the case of Tunisia, are a step towards real democracy. The continuing instability and human rights violations lit the fuse for a people dedicated to taking action through words. Until converting itself into the Arab Spring, “Tunisia is the ray of hope for those places where violence prevails whenever you try to react.”
The proposal was to achieve “progress in the constitutional deadlock” and it happened through the creation of a communal project; the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet. The key was in “finding new ways of managing to reach a consensus among the different parties and currents”, explained the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, “the Quartet is a tangible trial of how dialogue can be a useful tool”.
Speaking alongside Mohamed Ben Cheikh was Itziar Ruíz-Arrieta, who made an extensive summary of the various Arab Springs and put the focus of attention on Africa, as well as touching on the enlightenment that spread across the continent in spite of it having to remain in the shadows: “Africa has been a model on how to act, and about how to deal with human right violations”. As looking for light is a struggle, even though sometimes the fight has shadows: “Africa is one of the political centre stages that only benefits very few”, added Itziar Ruíz-Arrieta.
Conflicts often come to us with a bias show only one side of the story; one point of view. “They tell us that the wars in Africa are to do with greed” complained Itziar. Changing the viewpoint can help us to understand this resistance against the elites, like changing it through the social, cultural, historical and political struggle. “We have to change the image of Africa as a place where there is only sadness”, was also remarked at the Social Forum in the Africas of Africa with Youssou NDOUR and Yoahnnes Tilahun, who were in reality interviewed by Boniface Ofogo.
“Wake up good morning this is Africa calling” sang Youssou NDOUR in the Social Forum, reminding everyone there that Africa is full of color. As much Yohannes Tilahun as Youssou NDOUR outlined the necessity of showing the value again, of telling others their story, their look: “Give us the opportunity and come and visit us, see the reality with you own eye and you can tell everyone else”, Talk about it, in as many ways as possible, like Rototom Sunsplash in 2018, by taking a part of the essence and philosophy of the festival to Ethiopia.