The announcement was made on Friday, October 9th, by Chairwoman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Kaci Kullman. It comes when the world’s attention is focused on the conflict in Syria and the violence in the Middle East between Palestinians and Israelis. While announcing the winner, Kullman stated that while the country was at the brink of a civil war, the Tunisian Quartet was working for a harmonious and peaceful country through the building of a pluralistic democratic.
The Tunisian National Quartet is a grass-root movement made up of four major groups representing people from all works of life. They include the Tunisian General Labour Union, the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, the Tunisian Human Rights League and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers. Talking to the Associated Press, the Leader of the Tunisian General Labour Union, Houcine Abassi, said he was
“overwhelmed” by the award and that the prize has come to crown after more than two years of efforts deployed by the quartet.
World leaders like the UK Prime Minister, German Chancellor and Lech Walesa, a Polish Human Rights activists and winner of the prize in 1983 who worked with the Quartet, have been congratulating the Tunisian people and the Quartet. Similar messages have been coming from Tunisia itself.
The Quartet was formed in 2013 when the country was facing threats of civil war. Tunisia is the only country in the Arab world that has been able to stage a revolution and is managing its aftermath with successes, despite some setbacks. What is now known as the Arab Spring actually started in Tunisia in 2010. The Tunisian case will serve as an example to Libyan factions who are currently having talks on the formation of a National Unity Government. The country has been plunged into violence since the death of longtime leader, Muammar Gadhafi, in 2011. For more than four years now, Syria has been in a quagmire of violence and bloodshed. Everyday, the conflict in Syria gets more complicated, especially with the recent official entry of Russia, which has given violence the pride of place.
The example of the Tunisians, and the Quartet in particular, show what dialogue can achieve.