TUNIS – TUNISIA – TUNISIE – تونس

Kapije u pastelnim bojama-Painted doors

Kapije u pastelnim bojama-Painted doors

Luka u Bizerti-The port of Bizerte

Luka u Bizerti-The port of Bizerte

Na jugu Tunisa-Tunisia's South

Na jugu Tunisa-Tunisia’s South

Naseobine od zemlje na jugu-Mud settlements in the South

Naseobine od zemlje na jugu-Mud settlements in the South

Pogled na Bizertu-A view of Bizerte

Pogled na Bizertu-A view of Bizerte

Politicki pozdrav-A political salute

Politicki pozdrav-A political salute

Salon za dame-A ladies' hairdresser

Salon za dame-A ladies’ hairdresser

Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said

Tipicni kavez za ptice-A typical birds cage

Tipicni kavez za ptice-A typical birds cage

Tuniske poslastice-Tunisian sweets

Tuniske poslastice-Tunisian sweets

Tunizanin-A Tunisian

Tunizanin-A Tunisian

Ulica u Keruanu - A street in Kairouan

Ulica u Keruanu – A street in Kairouan

Ulica u Keruanu-A street in Kairouan

Ulica u Keruanu-A street in Kairouan

Velika dzamija u Keruanu - The Great Mosque of Kairouan, Mosque of Uqba

Velika dzamija u Keruanu – The Great Mosque of Kairouan, Mosque of Uqba

Velika dzamija u Keruanu-The Great Mosque of Kairouan, Mosque of Uqba

Velika dzamija u Keruanu-The Great Mosque of Kairouan, Mosque of Uqba

Početkom devedesetih godina XX veka skoro svako drugo dete rođeno u Tunisu zvalo se Sadam. Euforija podrške iračkom vođi u vreme akcije Pustinjska oluja bila je tako snažna, da su čak i mirni i turistički nastrojeni Tunižani u to vreme umeli da kamenuju automobile sa evropskim posetiocima. Verovatno su svi oni za njih tada bili Amerikanci. Zbog toga smo morali da usmerimo automobil unatrag i prekinemo izlet po oazama južnog Tunisa. Vratili smo se u okrilje sigurnosti hotelskih kompleksa na severu, kojima su patrolirali naoružani čuvari. I tako je mirna i dobroćudna arapska nacija, koja je oduvek imala dobre odnose sa strancima, odjednom i, srećom, nakratko, postala njihov neprijatelj. Panarapski interesi su iznad turizma, bar privremeno.
Malo neuobičajene dinamike u mirnom turističkom obilasku ove zemlje, koja ima sve što je potrebno za prijatan boravak u njoj. To su stari gradovi sa utvrđenjima iz srednjeg veka, u kojima su sada smeštene medine i sukovi puni suvenira, zatim prostrane peščane plaže sa hotelskim kompleksima u orijentalnom stilu, kao i moderni gradovi kojima su Francuzi dali puno evropskog stila, tako da liče na mnoge mediteranske gradove. Takav je i glavni grad Tunis, na severu zemlje, koji odiše prijatnom mešavinom evroarapskih stilova, sa francuskim kafeima, dugim šetalištima i palmoredima, ali i starim džamijama i okolnim čajdžinicama u kojima se polako ispija gusti čaj od mente i raspravlja o lokalnoj politici boraca za arapsku stvar. Slični su i ostali gradovi u severnom delu Tunisa, kao što je Bizerta, u kojoj se nalaze saveznička groblja, pored ostalih i groblje srpskih vojnika koji su ovde lečeni i podlegli ranama posle proboja Solunskog fronta u Prvom svetskom ratu.
Posle Rimljana ovde je ostalo arheološko nalazište Duga, jedan od najočuvanijih rimskih gradova u ovom delu sveta, sa otvorenim teatrom za približno tri i pô hiljade ljudi i velikim Saturnovim hramom smeštenim na kamenoj uzvišici, sa pogledom na čitav kraj koji ovde iz pustinje postepeno prelazi u zeleni pojas.
Na sredini duge tuniske obale nalazi se stari grad lepog imena Monastir i veliko poluostrvo Đerba, sa divnim plažama i hotelima, trgovima i plantažama urmi. Ipak, najlepši i na svoj način drugačiji i manje posećeni Tunis smešten je na jugu, gde se ta mala zemlja useca u Saharu, kao da i ona želi da dobije jedan deo ove pustinje pored ogromnih suseda, Alžira i Libije. Na jugu počinju karavanski putevi koji vode kroz sela, u kojima je stotinama godina zaustavljeno vreme u prašnjavim saharskim stenama, iz kojih vire kolibe stopljene u prirodnoj pustinjskoj arhitekturi. Kao prave pastoralne scene deluju magarčići koji nose vodu i ponekog dečaka u beloj galabiji prolazeći pored razrušenih kamenih kuća sa velikim kružnim pećima u kojima se peče arapski hleb.
Oaze na tuniskom jugu skoro su najlepši deo te zemlje, u koji se manje odlazi, ali koji, lepotom i jednostavnošću života u njima, ima potpunu moć da opčini posetioca. Mali karavani kamila prolaze kroz neodoljivi hlad šuma palmi, pored pustinjskih izvora i zelenila koje pružaju oaze na ulasku u veliku i neumoljivu Saharu. Lepota ovog dela Tunisa veoma se razlikuje od ostalih delova zemlje, posebna je i autentična, pomalo divlja ali i romantična, mesto odakle ne želite da odete i gde ste tiho zarobljeni u prostoru i vremenu.
Zbog Sadama sam morao brzo da odem odatle, ali zbog svog snažnog unutrašnjeg doživljaja ovog mesta, znam da mu se moram vratiti jednog dana.

Januar 1991.
_________________________________________________________________________

In the early 1990s almost every second child in Tunisia was named Saddam. The euphoria of supporting the Iraqi leader during the operation ‘Desert Storm’ was so overpowering that even the peaceful Tunisians who were in favour of tourism could allow themselves to stone vehicles with Europeans in them. Possibly they saw all these foreigners as Americans. That is why we had to turn our car back and abandon our trip to the oases in Southern Tunisia. We returned to the safety of hotel resorts in the north patrolled by the armed guards. And so, a peaceful and good natured Arabic nation that has always had a good relationship with foreigners, all of a sudden, but fortunately only briefly, developed animosity towards them. The Pan-Arabic interests were above tourism, at least temporarily.
This was just a bit of unusual dynamics in the otherwise tranquil sightseeing of this country which offers everything to secure you a pleasant stay. There are old cities with medieval forts, now the home to medinas and souks full of souvenirs, vast sandy beaches with hotels built in Oriental style, as well as modern cities which, under the French influence, have got a certain European charm and resemble any Mediterranean city. Such is the capital city of Tunisia, in the north of the country, emanating a mixture of European and Arabic styles, with French cafes, long promenades with palm trees, but also ancient mosques with nearby tea houses where thick mint tea is drunk and local Arabic politics is discussed. Other cities in the north of the country are quite similar, such as Bizerte, where Allies’ armed forces cemeteries are located; the Serbian soldier cemetery from World War I is also there; during the battles at the Salonika front Serbian soldiers were treated for injuries here and many died.
The Roman Empire has left behind the archaeological site of Dougga, one of the best preserved Roman cities in this part of the world, with an open air theatre for approximately 3,500 people and the Temple of Saturn with a view that stretches across the region; here the desert gradually gives way to a green belt.
In the middle of the long coastline, there is an old city with a lovely sounding name – Monastir, and a big peninsula of Djerba, with beautiful beaches and hotels, squares and date plantations. Yet the nicest, quite different part of this country, which is infrequently visited is in the south; that is where this little country cuts into the Sahara, as though it also wants  part of the desert, alongside the mighty neighbours of Algeria and Libya. In the south, caravan routes cut through villages where time has stopped a couple of hundred years ago in the dusty rocks of the Sahara, huts protruding from behind them in a natural architectural blend. A true pastoral scene: small donkeys carrying water and occasionally a boy in a white jellabiya, pass by the ruined stone houses with large circular stoves in which pitta bread is being baked.
The oases in the south of Tunisia are probably the nicest part of the country and even though less visited, with their beauty and simplicity of living can totally captivate the visitor. Small camel caravans pass through the enticing shade of palm trees, next to desert streams and greenery – the last gift of an oasis before entering the vast and implacable desert. The beauty of this part of the country differs a lot from other parts of Tunisia, it is its own and authentic, a little bit wild, but also romantic; it is a place you don’t want to leave and where you become a quiet prisoner of space and time.
I had to leave quickly because of Saddam, yet because of my powerful inner experience of this place, I know I need to get back to it one day.

January 1991

Leave a Reply