Tunisia’s president embraces the racist ‘great replacement theory’

By | March 1, 2023

Erin Clare Brown reports:

After a fortnight of political arrests and detentions, Tunisia’s president, Kais Saied, has now unleashed a racist campaign targeting Black migrants in his country, with conspiracies that echo the “great replacement theory” and police raids in popular quarters across the country where many migrant workers live.

In an address to his National Security Council on February 21, Saied claimed that “there is a criminal arrangement that has been prepared since the beginning of this century to change the demographic composition of Tunisia … There are parties that received huge sums of money after 2011 in order to settle irregular migrants from sub-Saharan Africa in Tunisia.” He called on the security forces to “quickly put an end to this phenomenon,” repeating racist tropes about the inherent criminality of Black people.

Saied’s scapegoating statement, for which he offered no evidence, has opened a floodgate of racialized terror and violence in Tunisia that previously bubbled just beneath the surface. In the hours following the address, Saied’s supporters, including newly elected members of his Potemkin Parliament, repeated his claims, and reports filled social media and private WhatsApp groups of the targeting of Black people — whether from sub-Saharan countries or Black Tunisians — with verbal and physical abuse. [Continue reading…]

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