As African migrants are swept up in a widening crackdown, critics say President Kais Saied is openly mining a deep vein of discrimination and prejudice against dark-skinned people in Tunisia.
Nineteen months after President Kais Saied instituted one-man rule in his North African nation, derailing the only democracy to survive the Arab Spring revolts, he has shaken the country once again with an ever-widening purge in recent weeks that analysts and critics say appears increasingly fueled by paranoia, conspiracy theories [,]authoritarian urges…. [And racism.]
But even critics were shocked by Mr. Saied’s Feb. 21 tirade against migrants from other parts of Africa, in which he openly mined what was already a deep vein of discrimination and prejudice against dark-skinned people in Tunisia.
“The unspoken goal behind these successive waves of irregular migration is to consider Tunisia a purely African country, with no affiliation to the Arab and Islamic nations,” he said, accusing the migrants of fomenting crime and violence.
His remarks, seemingly inspired by a xenophobic political party that supports him, echoed the white-supremacist “great replacement” theory popular with the European and American far right, which contends that there is a secret effort to replace white populations with others.