In a fitting tribute to a week in which the world celebrated women, Tunisia has two new feminine heroes.
The first is Khaoula Rachidi. Leaders.com describes her as Tunisia’s Marianne, the national emblem of France for freedom and reason. Tunisian’s now know her as the woman who stood up for the country’s flag against religious extremism and division. The second is Amel Aloui, a long-time fighter for human rights in Tunisia.
One is tall, the other petite, but both have grown in the eyes of all Tunisians. Khaoula Rachidi, who rushed with courage and determination to defend the national flag in Manouba and Amel Aloui who had confronted the attackers. Both were moved on Monday morning arriving at Carthage Palace where they were received by the President.
The two women were invited by the President following violent confrontations at Manouba university last week between Salafists and other students at the university.
The AP’s Bouazza Ben Bouazza described the incident which led to Roushidi and Aloui being honored:
Islamist and leftist students fought running battles at a Tunisian university Wednesday in the latest incident involving rising religious sentiment in the North African country.
Competing demonstrations in the morning by hundreds of conservative students, known as Salafis, and leftist members of the national students’ union erupted into violence when the former tore down the national flag flying at the university entrance.
The Salafi students replaced the Tunisian flag with their own black standard bearing the Muslim profession of faith.