Let’s be honest. Everyone, during their childhood was told repetitively by his parents that the young people have many opportunities, like clubs and projects, but are still wasting their time doing insignificant things. But have you ever wondered what the past generation used to do in their spare time and what were their movements?
Youth of the 70’s in Tunisia are right to say that we’re much luckier than them, in terms civil society and extracurriculars. Their youth coincided with a stressful period, exactly after the independence of our country (1956) , during which Tunisia was on its road to reach democracy. As we all know, that road is full of obstacles. Indeed, the government witnessed the creation of some movements while the political situation was not stable at all. This was the historical background that gave birth to a government that made many decisions such as depriving the youth of meetings of more than three persons, and that’s what obstructed their engagement in the associative life, and the establishment of organizations.
Everything was under the supervision of the government, even in cultural centers and school art clubs. Not any article or song or painting had the right to be published, and if it contained even a hidden insult to the government, or an invitation to dig into the secrets of the state or to expose them, the publisher would be retained. That’s to say that the freedom of publishing and of expression wasn’t exerted.
On the other hand, the government welcomed charity. Indeed, the Red Crescent and many associations that help the poor and disabled people were very common in that period, increased the social cohesion of the people.
Furthermore, it’s notable that the majority of the past generation was spending most of its time reading books about politics in order to learn about the world that the government hides. This led to the creation of the student’s movement, that reached a higher level of maturity, and organized many protests and signed petitions in order to limit the power of the government in universities.
To sum up, we can say that every period has its specifics. Our parents couldn’t be strongly engaged in the associative field during their youth because of many obstacles such as the lack of democracy. Still, they strived to ensure a better future for us.
by Youssef H.