Recent events in Tunisia have rocked what has been considered at least regionally one of the tighest run ships in the wider region of North African/Middle-East. Ben-Ali ruled for 23 years before being ousted not by militant extremists or opposition parties, but rather by his own “children”, i.e., the Tunisian youth. I marvel at this as for years now it has been posited that many countries, especially those in North Africa/Middle-East, will have to come to terms sooner rather than later with the fact that their younger populations are growing while the ruling party is aging. The gap gets wider by the day and we are now witness to what happens when a massive segment of the population feels increasingly disenfranchised (economically and politically).
Consider this: Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi (68 years old) has been in power since 1969; Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh (64) has ruled since 1978; Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (82) since 1981; Algeria’s Abdelaziz Bouteflika (73) since 1999. Is it any wonder they are so out of touch with their young citizenry?