Thala... Are We All Martyrs?

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This documentary tells the story of the Tunisian city of Thala (تالۀ ) whose martyrs in the revolution comprise 30% of the total number of those who fell victim to tyrannical suppression of the revolution. Mothers and families of the victims call for bringing to justice those who killed their sons and beloved ones. The documentary retells the incidents that befell the city through eye-witness accounts of the martyrs’ family members.

This film tells the story of a small Tunisian town which witnessed heroic civil resistance during the revolution. Thala’s story is dedicated to all the deprived areas in Tunisia. And to those who chose death over humiliation.

One of them was wounded

Oh , they killed him

Is there a shot?

Yes, this is what happened

This is no longer a homeland my people

They are killing us without mercy

Security forces everywhere

Are killing without discrimination



THALA… Are we all martyrs?

From here exactly

Young people gathered in front of the two schools

Coordination was achieved by phone

Their goal was to reach the middle of the city

The first march started from this place

And was later dispersed

One mile away

They were obstructed between the trees

And were assaulted

While we were defending ourselves with stones

They had obstructed us

In front of the petrol station

Young people came with me

They were my students

They screamed asking me for protection

So I had to stay in order to protect them

Meanwhile, security forces

Attacked us in large numbers

About thirty or forty policemen

They assaulted us with sticks and insults

Then dragged us to the police station

While they had hit the teacher’s mouth

Students rushed to wipe his blood

The teacher said that he had forgotten the pain

When he saw an 11-year-old boy

Lying down and cleaning his wound

Afterwards a large number of security forces reached the city of Thala

About 1800 police officers

Appeared in full force

During the day there were sit-ins and clashes with the police

And the turning point was the evening prayer

Announcing the night-a hell for the police

And the preparation for the big confrontation

“with blood, we sacrifice ourselves for the martyr”

A crowd of protestors were facing the police with stones

Another crowd was singing and dancing

While women were letting out “zagharid”

For two purposes: it was first to support protesters,

Then to perturb the police

Astonished at those who were protesting and those who were singing

The those who were singing go to demonstrate and throw stones

Whereas those who were demonstrating returned back

To carry on singing for support

“Ben Ali, you coward, people of Thala are never disgraced”

Later, the night of January 8th, was in face a hellish night

They brought weapon and bullets

And prepared themselves

Then came a tank, sorry, two

The next day, atrocious confrontations had begun

There was a heavy use of bullets,

Which caused the killing of our children

The first one of them was Marwen Jamli

The boy had received two or four shots in the chest

When we arrived to the hospital

A group of victims had also come

And another wounded person

Then I saw two martyrs

And then within a very short time

That does not exceed twenty-five minutes

There was an influx of a large number of injured victims

The martyrs and the wounded arrived in masses that night

I only care about the one who killed my son

And put the gun on his chest

Where is he?

They told me that this person has left his job

And has run away

The second wanted person

Who had killed Wajdi

Works normally

No one dares to approach him in the Ministry of the Interior

This was stipulated in the investigation

This also means that our case has ended

When they tell you that the murderer has disappeared

This implies that the case will be charged against an unknown person

When they talked about shooting,

I felt pain

As if the wounded where Ghassen

Or I myself was shot

But perhaps my pain was greater

I shouted his name

They asked me to pray to the Prophet

I told them Ghassen had been shot

I felt the pain of injury

And the coldness of death

So young people began to fall successively

The first of them was Marwan

Because he and Ghassen were always on the front line

My dear son was the first to be shot

Education and ethics

The people in Thala know Marwan Jamli well

He went out against injustice

Mainly injustice inflicted on our town

He had no goal to win

He knew his fate

He did not want anything

He just wanted others to feel less fearful

Now that he has died

Where are their rights?

My son was disabled

And shot by four bullets

Is there such a brutality?

Is there any another description

For a disabled boy being killed with four shots?

It is true that the Tunisian people relates to that

But not as much as three hundreds families do

These families have endured the bloody events

And the one thousand who were wounded still suffer

How can there reconciliation?

Reconciliation is basically a fair trial

Following the trail, there may be debates

All possibilities are looked on

But in the absence of any trail

How can we talk about reconciliation?

If I don’t get my right back

I’ll get it in one way or another

I’ll do anything

For all the children of Tunisia

Not only Ahmad

But all the children of Tunisia

I wanted to cry and shout

I didn’t know what I wanted to do

When I arrived I could not believe what I was seeing

But when I saw the body of Marwan

What I saw…

For about two minutes

I did not believe

Marwan was in fact dead

Yet it was hard to believe that he was dead


I swear I was really shocked at first

I took my phone and contacted the youth

I told them there was casualty

And that they should be careful

The funeral took place

And everyone of us was on the run

Carrying an injured on our shoulder

I was carried by a young man

At that moment, a second shot went off here

In my thigh

The shooting was shortly resumed

They shot me here three times

The young man then took me into the first house

Where I kept bleeding for forty-five minutes

The intervention forces came in

And when they found me in that circumstance

A semi-dead man

They started kicking me

Until I gained consciousness due to the extreme pain

As I opened my eyes

He pulled his weapon, saying: kill the villain, he is still breathing

And put his weapon here

The house’s owner lunged at him and shouted

Keep away from him, my son… he’s already dead

So that his family could at least see him and kiss him

The guy pushed the women away

But suddenly one of their colleagues entered the house

He shouted asking them to help him outside

As the fighting had intensified with young people

This muscle is completely numb

This muscle?

Go up there, please

Our equipment is somehow outdated

You may say that the equipment is obsolete

Unfortunately this is all we have

It has exceeded its deadline

But we are still trying to work with them

I left school at the age of sixteen

I work to help my father

And sometimes try to find a job

We are ten members in the family

Brother, do we have the right to live?

Do we have the right to claim it?

Do we have the right to live?

There are only five departments

Police station

The general headquarters of the security

Border police station

And a second police station

These are the available institutions

The rest is

The municipality

And several schools

The whole population

Is usually displaced to work either in the capital

Or in some coastal cities

Or in Libya

Although almost everything is available

For the people of the region to work

But injustice and unemployment

Push them to do anything

They say they are dead

Let us do anything

We are already dead anyway

There is no life

Our children are not waiting for life

They have no life

A decent living

We do not have the provisions of a decent living

We have nothing in Thala

Neither socially nor culturally

I do not understand people’s life here

So why do you think there was a revolution?

It was about development, we want development

We do not want anything from them

We have almost everything in Thala

We have everything we need

I haven’t eaten anything in two days

I live on narcotic pills and hashish

This is my life

Two days exactly

I live on cigarettes and sleeping pills

This is my life


If only I had a job

Since my life is all about cigarettes, alcohol and pills

Today is the first trial

Concerning the children of those who were killed

We will all go to the city of el Kef

It is the most difficult day

I’ll face my son’s killer

I do not know how I would manage this

Today is a historic day for us

A historic day for Tunisia

When the accused is brought to the court

And put in front of me in the cage

I will say that I have won over him

As long as he is in the cage

And I am free in front of him

I assumed I have own over him

Please, stand by our side

We are your sons

We are the youth of Tunisia

We made sacrifices for Tunisia

Blood was shed

We no longer want bloody days

We are not all against the ministry of interior

We are against particular people

Those who attacked us

Wounded us, killed us and tyrannized us

We are here to claim our rights


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