Rene Alaniz

"Bouguiba lets them eat bread"

Time, Jan. 16, 1984 p.44


This article argues that Tunisia’s problems stem from the adverse economic situations. The riots represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the deep issues facing this country. Changing the prices of bread may have stopped the violence, but it stalled in resolving its longterm economic dilema.

Main Point

The issue of raising prices has brought bloodshed to this once stable pro-western developing country. While Bourguiba was able to dissolve the situation by rolling back prices, this only put a bandage on a far deeper problem. The economic downturn in Tunisia has hit hard especially in the south where unemployment is highest. Not only is it seen in the south with poor peasants, but also with the young who have gone through a long recession.Raising of prices was in order to do away with food subsidies and use on it on development projects creating new jobs. Now these new development projects must be sacrificied for lower prices. The youths of this country also put Tunisia’s political stability into question. Satisfying this new and volatile group is the key to a successful regime.


Tunisia’s success in the future depends on changing its economic conditions. Not is it important to change these condition, but also in order to adapt to the new political face of its country.