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AFRICA / We're going to inherit equally, but inherit what?
Letter from a thirty-year-old, precarious and desperate Tunisian feminist
Date of publication at Tlaxcala: 28/11/2018
Original: Nous allons hériter à parts égales, mais hériter de quoi ?
Lettre d’une féministe tunisienne, trentenaire, précaire et désespérée

Translations available: Español  Italiano 

We're going to inherit equally, but inherit what?
Letter from a thirty-year-old, precarious and desperate Tunisian feminist

Rim Ben Fraj ريم بن فرج

Translated by  Eve Harguindey


I am sorry, Mr. President, but I do not share the enthusiasm for the introduction of your bill on equality in inheritance. I have a lot of work but no salary, no social security, no health insurance and I don't contribute to my pension.

"Equality in inheritance": From left to right Prime MinisterYusef Chahed, , President Beji Caid Esebsi, and Rashid Ghanushi, leader of the Islamist party Ennahdha

At the rate things are going, I don't know if I'll even make it to the end of the year alive. In any case, I know that if I ever reach retirement age, I might have to sell some mlawis* or go to the garbage to find something to eat. Since neither my sisters nor I are going to have children, there will be no one after us. In any case, our potential children, whatever their gender, would have absolutely nothing to inherit from us, just as we ourselves have nothing to inherit from our parents. So, a question: what are Tunisian women going to be the happy heirs in equal shares of?  Hundreds of thousands of us have to ask ourselves this question.

We who have been good girls, who have studied, who have accumulated experiences. We who have sent our CVs in all languages all over the world. We, most of whose projects have been nipped in the bud by your bureaucracy. All this gives us good reasons to want to escape, to flee from this country and not to want to have children to leave them - in equal parts! - all this misery. Unfortunately, the walls are impassable: no salary, thus no social security, thus no Schengen visa. Anyway, when you see the ugly faces of the bullies in power all over the Schengen area, the urge to go and have a beer in Berlin or a glass of wine in Barcelona passes.

Your famous bill on equality with inheritance makes a global noise that drowns out the cries of the desperate women of the rea, silencedl country, far from the triangle Carthage-La Marsa-Le Bardo. You have not been able to face any of the real problems that plague our society and now you are pulling out your advertising bill to get hypocritical praise from your masters in Brussels, Washington and Berlin: “Ah, there are good Arabs!” We Arabs from below don't give a shit. Whether we're in hijabs or miniskirts, we're all in the same shit.

We are fed up: fed up with call centers who pay us misery to be harassed six days a week, fed up with factories whose German boss generously offers us a litre of corn oil for Eid as a reward for our know-how and our little, so agile fingers, paid ten times less than in his country. Fed up the fake associations that are heavily funded to allow their executive directors to pay for beer tours and buy Michael Kors handbags for their girlfriends. Tired of seeing on Facebook pictures of the smart girls who got grants for a study trip to Disneyworld by a Washington foundation (they call it "youth leadership" and "women empowerment").

Mr. President, 57 light years separate us. I don't think you and I live on the same planet. Yours thinks everything’s fine, ours knows it's not. The only things my planet will inherit will be your debt, that of your predecessors, and your failure. To conclude some suggestions: do you really want to please the women of this country? So, to start with, give them the means to buy real coffee, real cheese, real chocolate, to fill their stomachs with these foods, which most of them can no longer afford. For the rest, we'll see later.

*Mlawis: Tunisian puffed bread




Courtesy of Tlaxcala
Publication date of original article: 28/11/2018
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