By its inaction to the latest violent maneuvers of the Salafist, the government has done two things: embolden the violent radical Islamists wing, and serve notice to the rest of the people that they either give up their demands or they will have to dealt with, violently. The longer the government keeps ignoring these events, the bolder the radical salafistes would become, causing a need for hired security or armed self defense groups.
If any violence is allowed to last more than 48 hours, turning into armed skirmishes, it will open the doors for many underground groups to emerge and join the fight. Citizens would feel the need for armed protection especially once the military proves to be unequal to the task of protecting the borders, the country, and the citizens in it.
It is alleged that such groups, militarized and ideologically armed, are training and preparing for such an inevitable date with destiny.
The fight will be long and violent. When you combine well financed extremist religious and radical elements with hundreds of thousands of marginalized poor and lower middle class people, an elite middle class that sees its way of living threatened, and a government that is unable and unwilling to act righteously, you have the making of an inevitable explosive mix, usually called a civil war.
For the first time in their short history, Tunisians know what it means to be a hostage in your own homes. They are hostages of a political and social tensions and religious radicalization. Police are either not willing or unable to intervene partly due to lack of clear guidelines or ineptitude on the part of the ministry of the Interior.
It is then no surprise to hear of neighborhood groups forming to monitor and safeguard against the “Salafist police” who are “cleaning” the streets of bars serving alcoholic drinks or women in unacceptable summer clothing as declared by the founder of the religious police, a legally licensed group, Adel Ilimi “We reject any spectacle that offends Islam and Muslims, any spectacle that opposes the morals of Muslims, especially if it is in the street or in a public place,”
Such possibility reminds us of early days of post war Iraq, Lebanon in the late seventies, Niger, and Soudan. Such countries were manipulated from the inside as well from the outside, just as our government and our radical elements are. Whether the money and the strategies are coming from the East or the West is not important. What is important is that Tunisia, as we know it, will seize to exist.
At the end, I hope this scenario is just a figment of my imagination. Nonetheless, it should be the concern of political, social, intellectual, and economic opposition leaders. Secular religious leaders, parents, and educational leaders should focus the debate on tolerance and acceptance.