The Exhibition

”14 غير درج، أوان الثّورة“

Before the 14th, instant tunisien

Is an event organized by a collective composed of personalities of the civil society and public institutions and represented by the Doustourna Network.

A civil society’s initiative

Behind the exhibition, is an idea carrying an ambitious project: that of building an archive of the Tunisian revolution that has shaken the country and surprised the world. Spontaneous, independent of any ideology and without political leaders as it was, it found its expression in the image, thus inaugurating “the marriage of the new technologies with the street” as well as the era of digital communication. As a witness of the popular uprisings, the image worked as a motor for their dissemination. In fact, by changing the political language, it introduced a new type of communication and thus a new type of thought. In reality, as Ben Ali’s regime succeeded in blocking the dissemination of information neither journalists nor reporters were the ones who covered the 29 days of the revolution. Bloggers, cybercativists, Internet users, protesters, and ordinary citizens accomplished this mission by producing videos broadcasted on social media and on foreign TV channels.

These digital sources that are housed in cell phones, computers, on the net and in the archives of foreign televisions are characterized by their fragility. Potential victims of piracy, forgery, dispersed by the authors who are often only amateurs, videos and photos do not resist time and may disappear. For example, the access to many videos, which were previously available on Daily Motion, is already impossible.

This is why it is important and necessary to save and protect them.

A project of an unprecedented nature and scale:

The initiative established itself not only as an evidence but also as an emergency this is why it was adopted and supported by a collective which immediately started its implementation at the beginning of 2016. The archives collection campaign led to the development of a specific methodology for both academic and field practice. The different stages of the process focused on the recruitment and training of investigators, the establishment of standard questionnaires, the identification and the establishment of contact with the actor-witnesses of the events.

Two documents were used as a basis for this field work: the report of the National Commission of Investigation on Exceedances and Violations, called the Bouderbala’s Commission and Jean Marc Salmon’s book: 29 days of revolution. History of the Tunisian Uprising, December 17, 2010 – January 14, 2011, Paris, Les Petits Matins, 2016.

Thanks to a very favorable reception among the targeted populations, the investigators traveled the national territory, investigating all the places of the uprising to collect testimonies and documents of archives.

During the second stage, the collected harvest was subjected to a scientific treatment of viewing, analysis, authentication, indexing and safeguarding performed by the two dedicated institutions: the National Library and the National Archives.

During a restitution and evaluation seminar, held on December 17, 2017, the group decided to continue the collection work and to extend it to other sources: trade unions, foreign TV channels and newspapers, and Tunisian diaspora. The exhibition aims to promote this collective work and to encourage citizens to donate their personal archives.

A commemorative event with strong educational and artistic value

Only representing the tip of an iceberg, the exhibition will be inaugurated on December 17th, 2018, which corresponds to the date of the commemoration of the 8thanniversary of the revolution. With a pedagogical and civic vocation, it proposes to show the work accomplished through a selection of archives of events which constitute as many landmarks for the writing of an incandescent page of the contemporary history of Tunisia. Another of its aspects, and not the least, is the essential duty of memory through a truthful representation as well as the need to preserve and to pass to the younger and future generations with no identity benchmarks, vivid testimonies of the difficult march of a people marked by numerous violations of its rights, by abuse and a genuine culture of repression and violence that has become with the successive regimes a mode of governance.
Though the tunisian revolution was both spontaneous and unforseen, its spark has always been simmering.