Yesterday I heard the shocking news of 23 people being murdered at the Bardo museum in Tunisia plus the 2 dead extremists. As you know we were there not long ago and it was the highlight of our trip to Tunis. Bardo Museum was an incredible place. The real tragedy is that it is a small minority once again aiming to cause major impact and harm against their own citizens and neighbours.
I just don’t get it.

 

I know that today there are hundreds of people in shock and mourning because of the actions of a few. Today is a tragic day for so many.
I just don’t get it.

Grunge Tunisian Flag

 

The deaths in Tunisia are not the only things I don’t get….

I think of young men joining groups or brothers who commit horrendous crimes but come from a life of luxury and privilege. At what point does it become a grand idea to bomb a running race or behead a stranger in a country and culture that is not your own.
I just don’t get it.

 

I think of young girls who leave the safety and comforts of home and country to travel to foreign shores to marry men they have never met. Never again to hug and hold their mothers, fathers, sisters and family. Never again to have freedoms that  have been the norm.
I just don’t get it.

 

I think about journalists and how this is now one of the most dangerous of occupations. Why has telling the truth, or even making comment and God forbid having a different opinion to another, become justification to  slaughter, torture and imprison. Since when has the right to not be offended become such a crime?
I just don’t get it.

 

I think about the risk it is to be born a girl in some cultures and how an entire school of girls can be kidnapped, raped, murdered or married off to strangers just because they dare partake in an education. Since when are girls not worthy?
I just don’t get it.

 

I think about governments that instead of spending funds on the people via health, education and infrastructure are now wasting millions on the machine of war and protection. All because crazy extremists think they have a right in God’s name to commit  atrocities on strangers and fellow citizens. I wonder what God thinks. As for me….
I just don’t get it.

 

I think about the millions of people on the move in fear, poverty and risk, because their homes and countries are no longer safe. I think how being a refugee is now the norm for so many because a few think spreading hate and violence in the name of God is OK.
I just don’t get it.
I think of all the sane, moderate, peaceful Muslims in the world that hate the crimes in the name of their faith.
They don’t get it.

 

I know my mum suggested on our last phone conversation that we come home.
Mum doesn’t get it either.

 

 

 

What I Did Get When I Visited Tunisia

 

We got the big welcome every single day. Here people will presume you are a person of worth and worthy of their time and trust first. It is then up to you to prove otherwise. Tunisians loved having visitors who were interested in them and their country.
We really got the people.

We got to walk, wait and wait some more. When you arrive in port be prepared to talk to customs, local police, national guard and the port authority. Everything takes a long time to process when you arrive. You will be required to give all your details over and over again. Serious bureaucracy with levels of red tape, mean you need patience. We used to walk away amazed at how long things took but how pleasant the officials were in the process. The “best experience” was 3 hours and 5 buildings to get a local fishing license. End result no license but we did have coffee with the chief of police who called us friend and gave the Captain a big kiss on each cheek to confirm the love. What we didn’t get was a license, but as the Tunisian’s will say “this is life”.
We got patience.

 

We got to experience a country sandwiched between countries with more extreme political views and extreme factions. This meant that security was obvious where ever we went. We had regular visits to the authorities on a multitude of levels. For instance if you want to go out in your boat you need to tell the national guard, give the names and nationality of who you may be taking out and where you are going. It is at the discretion of the police on the day.whether you can take out guests on your boat.
We got security everyday.

 

We met many different people and shook their hands. Looking the other person in the eye is not necessarily important and has no bearing on the greeting.  I saw differences, women’s clothes attire and how they acted. I saw women treated differently to me but then I saw many similarities. I saw girls going to school, women being treated with great respect and couples very much in love. Only thing I didn’t see was a man cooking.
We got to experience differences.

 

No explanation needed
We got eye watering strong coffee.

 

We got rubbish! It’s everywhere, whether your on  land or at sea . It smells and it’s horrible. I am told that prior to the revolution 3 years ago there was very little rubbish on the streets. It is common place to watch fisherman and boaters just throw their rubbish directly into the sea or harbour. The worst are the used baby nappies on the beach. The country needs a “Clean Up Tunisia Week” as the natural beauty of the place is stunning.
We got rubbish even though we didn’t want it.

 

Living in the frontier town of Tabarka for 6 weeks we got to be part of a community. We got to make friends, share stories and feel welcome. We got invites and assistance from strangers and friends alike.
We got to experience something special.

 

We got to hear the Call to Prayer at regular intervals throughout the day . The first  Call to Prayer was surprisingly moving a haunting moment that I felt honored to share each day.
We got to share and then go back to sleep.

 

We got fertility. Fertile in land, ovaries and testosterone. Everywhere are young men (therefore young women) of marriageable age. The average age in Tunisia is 31 the oldest age of any African country. Everyone who was single seemed intent on getting married or had just got married.
We both got the invite to remarry if we wished.

 

We got weddings and these are loud boisterous affairs with hundreds invited for the big day or days. It includes hired wedding dresses, dancing horses, feasts on masse, henna tattoos and big sparkly dresses. Weddings can happen on any day of the week and you know when a wedding is underway as there are huge lines of cars blowing their car horns. All very exciting, energetic and noisy.
We got the honour and privilege of invitations.

 

We got big. Like Australia, Tabarka is the land of big things. Big saxophone, big coral, big bass. I am yet to understand how these attract tourists, though I do understand that big is hard to miss.
We got big is better.

 

We got goats being herded down the main street, we got packs of wild dogs, and cats everywhere. We got to meet turtles on trails and wild eagles that soared high above us. We got dolphins and large packs of tuna as we sailed Tunisian waters.
We got the wildlife.

 

We got to experience a different type of shopping. Markets are part of life and culture. In Tabarka there are two large supermarkets, which are more like big corner shops as neither has a car park. Some days the shelves are full and other days not. If one shop runs out of sugar they all seem to run out of sugar on the same day. Food is relatively cheap if you stick to local produce. Olive oil you bring your own vessel and it is amazingly cheap and superb in taste.
We got to go to market.

 

When you go to the markets and continue to go on a regular basis the vendors will expect you to use some Arabic rather than poor French. Throughout our time in Tunisia we were encouraged to learn Arabic words and often the meaning or history associated with new words.
We got an education.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

We got wow factor. So many times we were just blown away and amazed by what was on offer. Be it a guided tour of an ancient ruin on our own, walking up a hill to find people who go out of their way to show us the right path and then insist we join them for a meal. We were wowed by the generous hearts of the Tunisians and happiness to share of themselves.
We got to fall in love with the the people and the country of Tunisia.

 

Tunisia today we stand with you.

 

Today we offer our respect to those families that have lost loved ones including the young perpetrators. They are misguided and victims as well.

 

Today we send our love to the people of Tunisia.

 

 

 

the Miss

 

PS Just in case you missed it or wanted to see more of why this is the most amazing museum and our favourite place, a new gallery to view. As always click to make bigger. (I have hundreds more it’s so hard to choose favourites!)

PPS If Tunisia had world peace there would be plenty of money to go towards services like rubbish collection.

 

 

 

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