Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Infrared Tunisia III

The Habib Bourguiba Mausoleum

Way back in March of last year I spent a week in Tunisia, with an infrared camera. I posted some of the results back then, and now I'm going to post some more. At the time I went via Thomson Airways, but arranged my own accommodation, because that's what people do nowadays, and I am a people. The website of the Sousse Residence is still up, but the place itself seems to have closed down; it was almost empty when I stayed there, on account of the situation.

El Djem

Of all the situations that arose in early 2011, Tunisia's seems to have taken a relatively peaceful course. Unlike in Yemen and Algeria, the revolution was not nipped in the bud straight away; unlike Egypt it seemed to keep going, without being recaptured by the old establishment. Meanwhile Libya and Syria erupted into bloodshed, one after the other, but Tunisia was not like that. Ben Ali was a corrupt clown of Berlusconi-esque proportions, but he wasn't a murderous despot who went to bed each night dreaming of ways to kill as many people as possible. Unlike the great tyrants of history, Ben Ali did not have a vision. He just wanted a lot of money, for him and his wife. Who looks as if she enjoyed jewellery and nothing else.

Those people are not Pink Floyd;

A part of me wonders to myself: why didn't I go with a second-hand Nikon F2, and take grainy black and white shots of the armoured personnel carriers up and down the avenue Habib Bourguiba in downtown Tunis, and the barbed wire, and the people? Because of the armoured personnel carriers and the barbed wire and the people, that's why. Tunisia fell out of the news quickly, which is good for the people of Tunisia.

Mankind learned about seafaring in the Mediterranean. It's big enough to be difficult, small enough to master. It's an ocean on a human scale. Imagine if the world had been one big island, surrounded by an enormous sea. No-one would have bothered to sail it, there would have been no point. And the distant islands on the far side of the world would remain undiscovered. We're very lucky that the Mediterranean existed.

The Gulf of Hammamet
And the distant sky