Following are excerpts from the inauguration speech of Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on December 13, 2011.
Migration from Tunisia is a Sign of Failure
Moncef Marzouki: "The illegal emigration [from Tunisia to Europe via sea] is perhaps the clearest manifestation of our collective failure. Thousands of young people throw themselves to the mercy of the sea, in order to reach its northern shores either as rotting corpses, or as despised refugees.
"This is because the state was unable to provide honor and daily bread to all its children. The dictatorship, with its oppression and corruption, turned our country into a place from which people flee, instead of a place to which people escape.
"Thus, Tunisia failed in building the state of which the martyrs of April 9 dreamed, and for which the heroes of the battle for national liberation were martyred." […]
"Our Mission is to Lay Deep and Solid Foundations… to Build a Civil Democratic Republic, and a Tolerant Pluralistic Society"
"Our mission is to lay deep and solid foundations, which will facilitate those who follow us to continue to build a civil democratic republic, and a tolerant pluralistic society, which will eventually fully embody the principles of freedom, justice, and equality." […]
"We Must Protect the Women Who Don the Niqab … as Well as the Women Who Wear No Veil"
"We must achieve a just balance between accountability and reconciliation. We must develop our Arab and Islamic identity and open up to other peoples, but also strengthen our relations with the west, the east, and the south.
"We must protect the women who don the niqab and the hijab, as well as the women who wear no veil. We must protect the demonstrators…"
"We must protect the demonstrators, as well as the institutions against which they demonstrate. […]
"Allah, have mercy upon the martyrs, for had they not sacrificed their lives, I would not be standing today in this place, which embodies the sovereignty of the people, and its ability to break free from the shackles in which it was fettered by tyrants, who forgot that the will of the people is second to none but the will of Allah.
"Allah, grant their relatives the grace of forbearance and solace, and help them endure the greatest calamity that may befall a human being – the loss of a loved one and a support. Allah, heal the wounds of the young people – the source of our pride and glory – whose bodies have been weaned by bullets."