Tunisian poet Anis Shoshan, interviewed on Sudania 24 TV, discussed notions of citizenship and human rights, and said that while in Arab societies we are taught "to be passive, not to think, but to follow obsolete customs," there is a new generation that is educated and aware of human rights. "Thanks to our revolution, we in Tunisia have learned something very important: to ask... questions regarding my right to live as I want, not as the ruler wants. The ruler is just another employee," he said in the interview, which aired on May 6.
Anis Shoshan: "The main problem in our [Arab] societies is that we have lost the true value of human life and of citizenship. Our Arab societies lack the concept of citizenship, the notion that we are partners in a certain enterprise or country.
"In our societies, we are being taught to be passive, not to think, but to follow obsolete customs. You don't need to understand, to try to improve things, or even to ask questions. They have fenced us in with divine metaphysics.
"Allah said that he created us 'in stages.' This reflects belief in the concept of development. Through my poetry and my ideas, I try to protect my existence and my space.
"There is a new generation today – one that is well aware and educated, one that knows what is going on in America and in Australia, and is familiar with all the technological, cultural, and social developments. They are aware of human rights, and know that there are countries that respect one's right to live. In our Arab nation, they say to you, with all honesty: 'Die!'
"Thanks to our revolution, we in Tunisia have learned something very important: to ask, for the first time, existential questions, questions regarding life itself, questions regarding my right to live as I want, not as the ruler wants. The ruler is just another employee."