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Whither Tunisia’s “Jasmine Revolution”?

NEW YORK – As I try to grasp the full meaning of the Tunisian Revolution and gauge its future, I am looking at my desk, where I have spread two issues of TheNew York Times, both featuring Tunisia on their front pages. The two issues are dated 23 years apart.

The first is a yellowish, wrinkled copy from November 7, 1987. The article beneath the headline, “A Coup is Reported in Tunisia,” reported the fall of Habib Bourguiba, the aging founder of modern Tunisia and a hero of its independence. He had been ousted in the dead of night in a bloodless coup staged by his prime minister, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.