Thala... Are We All Martyrs?

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 villains Villains 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 hallelujah 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 Why? 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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