Photo Credit: Steve Clemons
After the end of America's Civil War and the death of Abraham Lincoln, an envoy from Tunisia presented President Andrew Johnson with a huge portrait of the 'Bey of Tunis', His Highness the Mushir Mohammed Essadek. The inscription below appears on the frame of the portrait which now hangs in the opulent reception room of the Department of State.
His Highness the Mushir Mohammed Essadek, Bey of Tunis
Portrait presented as a souvenir of his Friendship on November 1865 by his Envoy Gen. Otman Hashem, bearer of letters of condolence for the assassination of President Lincoln and of congratulations for the termination of the Civil War.
Nearly 150 years later, there are a great number of Americans, Europeans, wealthy educated Arabs from the region and others working hard with Tunisians after their revoulution to mend the severe social and economic damage done by a corrupt, totalitarian regime. I have been getting different reads on how things are going.
Lately, anecdotal reports have been pretty good from people who seem to be gaining confidence in the political evolution thus far and argue that what looked like a rising tide of Islamic Salafist influence may be ebbing. A friend, Foued Mokrani, has extensive family in Tunisia and wavers from high hopes for changes underway to depression and concern. Mokrani has been more positive lately -- but his cousin is featured in the less optimistic video below.