Thursday, November 10, 2022

This week, The National Library of Tunisia sponsored an international symposium called "The Forgotten Languages of Tunisia," about works written by Tunisians in languages that are not widely studied in Tunisia nowadays, including Turkish, Berber, Hebrew and a flavor of Judeo-Arabic that is still spoken in Djerba.

Because of the latter two languages, the symposium was interrupted by antisemites, upset that Hebrew and Judeo-Arabic would be discussed in a scholarly environment. The protesters claimed that this was a form of "normalization" with Israel.

For two hours, the protesters stopped the symposium, chanting, "No to Zionism", "No to Judaism", "No normalization with Israel", "Brainless Jews", "No to Holocaust Museum" , "The Tunisian people are a free people who will not fold to the pernicious Zionist project."

Newspaper Al Chourouk complained that one of the speakers, Jonas Sinony, is a Jew with a Polish (Jewish)  mother. (He is a scholar of semitic languages.)

The good news is that the story doesn't end the way that most of these do.

Unlike most cases of attempted cancellation in Arab countries, the library stuck to its guns. 

The director of the National Library stayed calm in the face of the screaming protesters, repeating that they will not yield to intimidation. 

On their Facebook page, they wrote, 

The seminar "Forgotten Languages" was a success, and everyone resisted in the face of the forces of bigotry and extortion.

The presentations were valuable and posted on this page, the fair was a success, and the accusations of "normalization" are oppressive and unjust.

Many thanks to the attendees who sympathized with the National Library and remained in the hall waiting for the scholarly sessions despite the desire of a group of people to cancel them.

Many thanks to the helpers of the National Library  who fought to defend and preserve the institution. 
And many thanks to the members of the library core union for standing up to the aggressors.

Thanks also to the security forces who negotiated with the aggressors and forced them out peacefully.

66 years after independence, and 11 years after the revolution of dignity, we will not accept the confiscation of freedom of speech and academic freedoms, and we will not accept any arbitrary decision from those who forget that we have become free.
The newspaper "Kapitalis" was also angry at the protesters, writing, "This is our heritage and history, and we are the most worthy to study it. By knowledge we are liberated, not by cancellation, erasure and denial."

"These groups (that protested), who pretend to be defending Palestine, will drag the country into more ignorance and misery," the newspaper quoted observers. "These armies of ignorance, fools, ignorant people and promoters of violence are issuing fatwas against Professor Raja Ben Salama, director of the National Library. They will not rest until they get rid of all the enlightened people and assassinate knowledge..."

I do not recall reading such a direct attack at antisemites in any Arabic media. Normally the most extreme voices win by default, because moderates in Arab countries are not willing to risk being publicly slandered as "Zionists" or "Jews." 

This is a very encouraging story, and it will take many more similar stories to root out the antisemitism endemic in the Arab world. 

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!




EoZ Book:"Protocols: Exposing Modern Antisemitism"


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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