At the end of each year, the debating elite of Tunisia from inside and outside TIMUN meet in a clash of the titans, a diplomatic battle where each delegate is armed with unique negotiation strategies and splendid research. Last year’s edition was special for it coincided with TIMUN’s 10 th anniversary, a decade of glory, diplomatic festivities and creation of an academic community.
As it was only my second MUN and I’d gotten a best delegate award in the previous one, the pressure was mounting and I walked into the simulation aiming for the top spot again in spite of the challenging nature of the committee that I have chosen. The topic was mainly designated for law students as it discussed the penal code and ways for a reform regarding individual freedom and equality in Tunisia. As a business student, I knew just as the common man about the topic yet with arduous research, I gained enough perspective and understanding to be able to walk in the parliament chambers and defy expectations.
I happened to represent the Free Destourian party, a rather notorious movement, negating the results of the revolution and setting the path to regain the glory of the past regimes of Bourguiba and Ben Ali, you can only imagine that I didn’t expect to have many friends in the room as such. Adding salt to injury, my two fellow delegates of the PDL, supposed to have my back, were absent. I seemed to be the pariah, the outcast in this tough crowd for everyone, from the religious fanatics to liberals to communists agreed that I was the parasite standing in the way of the revolution and the will of the people.
An outstanding lobbying strategy was essential for me to gain some momentum and enchant the needed majority into the embrace of the devil if you will. If you may give this strategy a title, it would be the Tunisian centrist family.
In a society that has lived through a plethora of civilizations and ideologies leading to a crisis of identity, swiftly dangling between the hands of God, also known as religious conservatism and the hands of modernity, also known as libertarianism. In this mayhem of absurdities, everyone wanted to be called a centrist, to satisfy both sides, to reach the illusion of equilibrium and that, my beloved readers, was my magic potion for who better fits the definition than the descendants of Bourguiba.
I warned of the perils of religious extremism and the manner with which it is guiding us into a ruinous path and insisted on the nostalgia of a glorious past when the leader and father of the republic, Habib Bourguiba freed women from the chains of patriarchy and set the path for a state where individual rights and equality reign supreme. I played on the patriotism within the non-religious parties in such a manner that they had no other choice but to support the drafted resolution lest they be labelled slaves of the Antichrist or Rached El Ghannouchi as known in Tunisia and that, my fellow comrades is what they call in chess, a Checkmate!
The atmosphere of the simulation was quite jolly as breaks were filled with impressions of old figures, more relaxed debates and memorable anecdotes that I would be delighted to retail to you in more detail in a future opportunity.
The Xth simulation was undeniably one to remember and an experience that honed my strategic thinking and debating prowess in an unfathomable manner which filled me with zeal and determination to participate in other MUNs and climb up the ladder of TIMUN.