Ameni Mathlouthi holds a sign that says, "Tunisia you have Allah," "RIP Mabrouk" and "RIP Humanity." It also says "I am Tunisia" and "I am shepherd."
By Ameni Mathlouthi
BEJA, Tunisia – The same day that terrorists attacked Paris, killing more than 120 innocent people, two Tunisian families suffered unspeakable horror at the hands of similar men.
Terrorists beheaded a teenage shepherd boy, Mabrouk Soltani, and ordered his young cousin to take the grisly evidence – the 15-year-old’s head – back to his family.
On Friday, the shepherd boys – Mabrouk and his 16-year-old cousin Hamed Soltani – were kidnapped in Sidi Bouzid, the place where the first flame of the Arab Spring was lighted.
They slaughtered the younger boy, Mabrouk, ripping his head from his body and giving it to his cousin to carry back home, dumping the body elsewhere.
There hasn’t been much news coverage of this despicable crime – what little I’ve heard is from local radio reports on Jawhara FM and Mosaique FM.
Mabrouk’s family kept his head in the refrigerator at home and spent time looking for the rest of his body. It was found by his dog, but not by the police.
Mabrouk’s mother is lucky enough to not to see her precious child’s head parted from his body. She is lucky, as she doesn’t have to suffer from the images of her son’s blood all over.
She is lucky that she can’t see what we all have engraved in our heads.
Mabrouk’s mother is lucky because she is blind. And so is our government.
Instead of the instant response we’d want to see from our elected government, they were nowhere to be found. Our president went to Paris and issued a statement of solidarity with France.
That’s good. I’m glad Tunisia was among the first to respond to the attacks in Paris. But what about these Tunisian families who suffered unimaginable loss and will never be the same?
It took 24 hours for the Tunisian Ministry of Women and Children to begin to respond to these families’ needs.
Tunisia, with an indicator for Sidi Bouzid, where the shepherd boy was killed, and where the Arab Spring began.
With Friday’s horror, Paris became closer to Carthage than Sidi Bouzid. It is a human and diplomatic necessity to show solidarity to France and to the world.
But what happened in Sidi Bouzid makes hearts weep.
Tunisia is undergoing real terror and living horror while our government stumbles to respond to the senseless slaughter of an innocent shepherd boy.
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