unisia: Making things Explicit
Recently a government spokesman caused a lot of controversy in Tunisia by calling for the return of the previously ousted dictator in the revolution in 2011.
The controversial spokesperson was Khaled Chouket , Government Spokesperson Calls for Return of Ben Ali .
I’m not going to get into agreeing or disagreeing with Chouket. But without doubt, I take it as a sign of life and energy and spirit alive in the country that such a provocative statement could be made by someone. I would have thought the country was too controlled in spirit.
Nevertheless, I have noticed that at times, the people of Tunisia have yelled out great spirit and support for their new nation. [refs], so maybe someone hollering this statement about the return of the previous dictator is not surprising. Whether or not I agree with him, I like that there is that energy in the country. It makes me feel more comfortable with the country, even though I am a natural born citizen of the U.S. where I have lived my whole life.
The real purpose of this post is to look carefully at a statement in the above news article, a statement by a political analyst Youssef Cherif in response to the government spokesperson.
The real purpose of this post is truth. Ah, truth, truth, there all kinds of issues around what is truth. Really all kinds. Huge numbers of issues.
But here we want to look at just one issue, however, an issue that applies to many different statements about all kinds of situations and issues.
In the above article, the political analyst Youssef Cherif makes the statement
“Like any dictator, Ben Ali has lovers and haters. There is also the myth of ‘it was better before’, with people accordingly idealizing Ben Ali and thinking he was the keeper of their pre 2011 stability. He has accordingly gained more popularity, year after year.”
The problem is, I think, the way this statement is written, it sneaks into your mind that it is a myth. If you believed it is a myth even before you started reading the article, then no problem. Likewise, if before you read the article, you believed it was not a myth, then also no problem, though you might get a little angry that the statement is referring to it as a myth but it isn’t.
The problem is when you are not sure before you start reading the article, and you are not even thinking about the issue of myths or anything like that. That is where the big problem occurs, because the way it is written, I think, it sneaks into your thoughts that it is a myth. But if you thought about it more explicitly, you might say to yourself, whoa, wait a minute, I don’t know if it is a myth. Is it? Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know. And then you might think, I’m not going to assume it is a myth just because the article refers to is as a myth. And that is the problem.
Sometimes a statement has items buried in it that need to be made explicit. When you make a mistake and think a statement is true when it is false, or vice a versa, you can botch up your actions with the world, and that is not good because you can end up doing things against the very goals that you seek to accomplish. That’s bad.
Well, I could spend a lot more time on this, but I think it would not make it clearer. The main thing is, if a statement is important, and you are trying to determine whether it is true, then just be aware of things like this.
Please feel free to comment on this post. Do you agree or disagree? Was this post written clearly enough. Any ideas how it could have been written more clearly?
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Are there any people in rural Tunisia who would be interested in playing with metacompilers? [added starting March 23, 2016] Obviously I have to say a lot more about this. The style of this writing will not be as pretty because I am, from necessity, going to be jumping from one topic to another to another and back to previous topics and forward, and on and on.
The first thing is metacompilers. What the hell are those? Why am I mentioning “rural” Tunisia? Why am I even mentioning Tunisia?
After I wrote the above, I figured I better do a fast look-over on the internet for “metacompilers.” I was horrified. There are so many different things being said about them, and so many different perspectives on how to look at them or understand what they are.
For one thing, temporarily ignoring what they are, and even temporarility ignoring even what “compilers” are, the depth of “official” “academic” “expertise” on compiler is huge and deep. Look at Aho and Ullman’s book on compilers to see how huge and deep. (And I think in future versions of the book, they added another author.)
Maybe 97% of the overwhelming essentials of metacompilers, and of what we need, can be got from a (relatively) extremely simple perspective and ideas. I say this because reading on the internet from various news sites which covered news about Tunisia, I got the impression that in terms of “official” knowledge, Tunisians pretty much assumed there was “official” knowledge and they went with that in an unquestioning manner. (All there difficulties and challenges in the world would be answered if they just got the right hold of all this official knowledge from Universities etc etc. (LOL))
As for “rural” Tunisia.
At the end of 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi (sometimes spelled with two m’s) set himself on fire in protest of pretty bad conditions he was enduring with the regard to the government, a government’s police person, and employment. This started a revolution in Tunisia, which eventually spread to much of the Arab world under the title of “Arab Spring” though it did not work out as well as in Tunisia, with a fairly nasty Tunisian ruler, president Ben Ali fleeing, and then over a number of years and only recently a new Constitution being written and finally finished for Tunisia.
I read about Bouazizi on the internet and felt very sad, especially with the picture of him in the hospital bed. By the way, it was only somewhat recently that I read how it was that I read that on the internet back in 2010-2011 etc. In 2010-2011, the story of Bouazizi was picked up by some European news sources and made a big item on the internet.
Starting with the time of Bouazizi, I often followed what was happening in Tunisia, and eventually to a certain degree, what was happening in the Arab World. It took quite a while before I got some hold of the many forces at work in teh Arab world, and also in near areas outside the Arab world. The complexity isn’t surprising, considering how ancient this part of the world is, ancient in terms of substantial groupings of humans.
Maybe three years ago I discovered that Bouazizi was in rural Tunisia and that unemployment was much higher there. Maybe I had some identification with that because my father left the rural farmlands of Missouri when he was very very young and went to Chicago (that was in the start of the Great Depression).