Friday, August 25, 2006

Don't come back!

Every summer when I am Tunisia, I tell my family and friends that I really want to move back to Tunis, and that I wish I could find time to think and plan for it.
Except my mother who generally is happy when I say that, all the others start warning me not to do that and that it does not make sense, that it is tough to leave in Tunisia and that people are dreaming to be in my position...etc.
I could not understand why they say that. Specially that sometimes the people who are complaining are living in nice houses, own multiple cars, have their kids in private school, wear the latest fashion brands , go out every weekend , travel regularly abroad and seem to have a nice life. So I got curious and every time I am with someone I know who owns a business or work for a private company, I ask the same questions. How is business? Are you growing? What are your future plans?..etc. I also talked with one of my brothers who own an accounting firm and he briefed me about the investment code, the tax code and the labor laws. Here is my $.002 and it is just my opinion, not a lecture.

-Big companies are all part of a few holdings or groups owned by a small elite of very well connected people. few of them are public.
-Successful small business owners are reticent to grow because of stupid and incoherent reasons like we don't want attract the attention of the big sharks!!! We don't want take risk, we are satisfied with what we make..
-The banking system is hurt by new wave of business man who gets loans secured by their business to build or buy equipment and use that to build a house, buy the latest car and then go bankrupt.
-Management by fear with the patriarchal boss giving orders and all the employees following blindly.
-Corruption is preventing a lot of entrepreneurs to achieve what they want. The government is trying to ease procedures for creating businesses and for investing but the white collar corruption is hindering that effort significantly.
-Even though the education quality is not what it was in the 80s and early 90s but it is still very competitive and comparable to Western Europe or North America. What is amazing is the mentality and the effect of the environment on our freshly graduated students, once they get a job, a majority are bored, don't want to work, don't give it 100%. But if they have a chance to work for a foreign company whether in Tunis or abroad, they will perform perfectly beating even their foreigner’s counterpart. How do we explain this?

I think the government need to clean the environment from all the corruption and these rumors of big sharks waiting to prey on any successful business. The banking system is already being reformed and we saw multiple French banks buying into Tunisian banks like BNP, Societe generale. People need to start have confidence in the government and the legal system, they need also to accept the concept of paying taxes (specially small business), they need to stop spending money on buying the latest Nike shoes or Diesel jeans if they cannot afford them and learn to save money in saving accounts.

I think that Tunisians are no different than Americans or Europeans; the proof is when they emigrate they integrate very well. What is different is the environment and we are all responsible for that, not only the government. If we stop criticizing and complaining and everyone starts by cleaning in front of his house, we will be better. We need to, given the challenge awaiting us in 2008.


psynaj said...

je pense que la différence réside dans la mentalité, nous sommes un peuple paresseux, opportuniste, ici on a l'habitude mais pour qq qui a vécu à l'extérieur et qui s'est habitué à un autre environnement je pense que c'est difficile de s'adapter. ceci dit bledik hia bledik et tu ne trouvera pas meilleur endroit!

Tarek said...

What can I say, we need an socio-economic grand-ménage in this country.

ancien combattant said...

"eci dit bledik hia bledik et tu ne trouvera pas meilleur endroit!". je ne suis pas d'accord du tout. Ce sont des citations de grand-mère. J'aime mon pays, j'y suis né, il m'a donné une éducation gratuite, de qualité relativement bonne MAIS IL NE FAIT RIEN POUR ME RETENIR. PIS, IL FAIT PRESQUE TOUT POUR QUE JE FOUTE LE CAMP. C'est très important. Je connais des gens qui s'accrochent, qui tentent tous les jours de changer les choses, qui ont même adopté la philosophie du "micro-changement" (çad change très peu de choses vaut mieux que je ne rien changer du tout) mails ils sont frustrés car ils ne sont pas retribués (et je ne parle pas là de rétribution financière) ne serait-ce qu'au centième de leur contribution. Et puis j'en ai marre qu'on résumé la vie en Tunisie à l'économie et à la prospérité des affaires ! Il y a d'autres aspects importants, voire même très importants tels que par exemple LA LIBERTE, LA CITOYENNETE, LA SOCIETE CIVILE qui font aussi et essentiellement un pays, contribuent à le construire, font qu'il fait bon y vivre et font sa grandeur. Tout n'est pas économique !

samsoum said...

@ancien combattant: Tu as raison la vie en Tunisie ne se resume pas a l'aspect economique mais ce post touche seulement a cet aspect.Pour te dire la verite ma decision de revenir ou pas dependra beaucoup plus de mes enfants a qui je veux qu'il vivent et s'expriment librement et en securite, qu'ils puissent s'epanouir et aimer vivre et donner a leur pays et je sais qu'ils ne le feront pas pour me faire plaisir et c'est ca mon vrai casse tete.

Tarek said...

AC: l'aspect économique est vital, et vient avant toute autre chose. Le Sénégal et l'Inde aussi sont des pays démocratiques je te signale, pars y vivre si tu cherches la liberté.

A quoi bon gaver le peuple de discours sur la société civile s'il galère pour arrondir ses fins de mois???? Faisons l'essentiel d'abord, rendons les gens prospères, et passons à l'humanisme après.

samsoum said...

@Tarek. Do you ever sleep? ;-)

Um Zayd said...

We definetly need some clean-up and give our youth more confidence in the future.

ancien combattant said...

@Tarek. Liberté, citoyenneté et démocratie ne sont pas un discours creux. Ce sont des composantes essentielles de la qualité de vie citoyenne. Le social et l'économique sont indissociables. On ne saurait envisager l'un en excluant l'autre. Un peuple affamé n'a que faire de la démocratie mais un peuple prospère ne peut faire l'économie de sa dignité.

Dans ce sens j'estime que la Tunisie a largement atteint, depuis bien longtemps, les minimas requis mondiaux, universels et même interplanétaires pour que son peuple aspire à jouir d'un minimum de dignité.

Sauf si tu es un défenseur de l'approche chiraquienne du développement qui se résume au "mange et ferme-la" ou inversement "ferme-la et mange" ce qui revient à la même chose.

A.L.G.Y said...

Merci de nous faire partager ce post qui m’a inspiré fortement et enflammé mon clavier alors que je manquais un peu d’inspiration ces dernier temps pour mon propre blog

Mon mari, chercheur dans un institut de recherche canadien, me tient sans cesse les mêmes propos. Autant dire que ton dialogue entamé avec Ancien Combattant fait écho à bien des débats que nous ne connaissons que trop, malheureusement.
Et pour vous dire franchement, je crois que l’économique, le social et le politique... tout se combine …
Merci encore d’avoir écrit ce post


Napo said...

@samsoum, "vivent et s'expriment librement" to shed more light on that? ;-)

anyhow, i don't trust tunisians in their judgement when it comes to advising their peers to 'stay overseas or perform le prodige retour definitif'.

they dont even know how to be content with their lifes, to take advantage of the opportunities they have in hand. their judgement is blured, their priorites are (excuse my french) F**ed up. they want everything granted and NOW at no cost of effort or hard work..and you listen to them and hear their advice?????

No one knows what's best for himself except himself only.

As far as going home for good is concerned, it's all about expecations, the higher the more painful your re-integration would be. i.e. if you expect US standards banking or business dealings, north-american work ethics or driving manners, then forget it.

let us not forget that virtually all of us, were born, raised, educated, and some even worked in it should not be a problem going back.

nice post btw. cheers from the east coast.

samsoum said...

@napo: I was not seeking advice, I was just curious to know why they kept telling me not to move back. I agree with you that it should not be a problem once we set our expectations right, specially for me because I am an easy going person and I love it there even while driving :-). In addition oueld el7alfaouin rani :-) and don't need much to be happy.
Seriously the problem is for the kids and their capacity to adapt to life there, given that the more we delay the decision, the older they get and the more difficut it becomes for them.

Napo said...

@samsoum, comme le monde est ptit, ti hak wil houmti...ena wild il borj, w'rbat il halfaouin 3ayit ma na3kil plus krit fi babbaset il halfaouin tu connais?

samsoum said...

ca alors, babbasat el9antra plus precisement! Moi je suis alle a babbasat rue de la kasba (ecole de l'etoile). Tu es de najh el borj alors, quelle surprise, la maison de mon grand pere n'est pas loin de la bas vers nahj essouahel du cote de sidi el gdidi. Mince c'est vrai que le monde est petit.J'ai de tres agreable souvenirs d'enfance de cette 7ouma.
Meme mon grand pere maternel avait une maison fi essour, elle a ete demoli pour faire place a elbalasat de la rue Hedi Saidi, c'etait avant ma naissance :-)

Napo said...

eh bin, samsoum, take this: j'habitais ces immeubles :-)))))) mais apres wallena fil omrane, pres d'allo taxi tu connais?
en effet, babbast el kantra et etudes secondaires fi lycee beb el khadhra, ne me dis pas que 9rit ghadi inti zeda?

samsoum said...

@napo: Non 9rit fi essad9ia (Sadiki), d'ailleurs le surveillant general Mr S9idi est originaire de la 7ouma, dar ess9idi.
Nous aussi on a demenage a bab b7ar quand j'etais au primaire mais je suis reste attache a ce quartier. D'ailleurs je suis en train de reunir tout les heritiers de la maison pour pouvoir l'acheter car elle part en pieces mais c'est un projet qui n'avance pas beacuoup.Je ferais un post un jour a propos de cette maison:-).
Eh ben, je suis content qu'on ait grandi dans le meme quartier man

Bamboutch said...

il faut faire le grand ménage dans nos têtes avant tout puis on en parlera

Big Trap Boy said...

There are sharks in the sea. These are facts and not just rumours.

I used to live in the US and I did come back to Tunis. It's been five years now, and I don't feel any regrets, but if I had kids, I wouldn't take that risk, unless they are american citizens and can go back to the US whenever they want.

Good luck.

P.S: @ Napo: Tunisians are not as F***ed up as you think! I just felt it wasn't right for you to say that.


Daniels Douglas said...

In front of this site when, it is the unconvincing history of miss Sameh Harakati. Tunisia not ever the similar in your eyes.