A Siege of Salt and Sand

This was a very interesting documentary. The situation in Tunisia is one that highlights very clearly the impact climate change is having on an area that is already very water scarce. The two separate and simultaneous sieges of both the rising tides turning part of the region into islets while desertification causes the Sahara to spread further in other parts shows the two different struggles people in the country must deal with. The saltiness of the water is also a major concern with the salinity of the water rising because there are less and less fish which ties into the food scarcity in the region. This regions agriculture is also being hurt severely by the increasingly worse conditions. People have had to move because they can’t live off of the land and are at risk of having their homes buried under sand. Those who stay build walls to keep sand from encroaching with little success. Many in the area believe that the government must do more to address the issues present. They want the government to do a better job with irrigation and water management practices and to be less reckless with development projects that worsen the effects of climate change.

Tunisia is one of three countries that has climate change written into its constitution. This is clearly something that is of great importance to the people of Tunisia and something that the government in Tunisia will have to address at some point. The scarcity of both water and food in this area as a result of both mismanagement and climate change will make people much more unhappy and so it will be up to the government to either try and solve these problems or if they can’t this might make countries with higher populations more likely to resort to repression. This problem will lead to what was seen in the buildup to the Arab Uprisings. It is worth noting this issue is not endemic to Tunisia and this is something for all countries in the MENA region to pay attention to.






2 responses to “A Siege of Salt and Sand”

  1. Ed Webb Avatar
    Ed Webb

    Did this documentary help you think differently about any other course materials or class discussions?

    1. dietricm Avatar

      It definitely did. A Siege of Salt and Sand offered a good perspective on the complexities of Tunisia particularly regarding discussions on the impact of the environment. The documentary depicted the ongoing struggles rooted in Tunisia and its portrayal of how instances of legitimacy that rulers use as a way of maintaining power can be impacted by the environment of the area they are operating in. The context of desertification as well as salination means that poor government practices can be shown in many different ways. I think that this documentary shows there is never one way to look at how governments actions and inactions affect the people of the country they are ruling.

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