Following are excerpts
from the inauguration speech of Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki,
which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on December 13, 2011:
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, 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 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.