The visit of the Tunisian diva to Japan and the exchange between Tunisia and the disaster-stricken areas of Tohoku チュニジアの歌姫の来日と東北被災地との交流

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Translation / 翻訳


Tunisia-born singer-songwriter Emel Mathlouthi, whose representative song is “Kelmti Horra (Japanese title: my words are free)”, which was often sung during the Tunisia democratization demand movement “Arab Spring”, will perform in Japan. She wants to connect with people through music.

Emel Mathlouthi エメル・マトルティ


The visit of the Tunisian diva to Japan and the exchange between Tunisia and the disaster-stricken areas of Tohoku

Tunisia was a pioneer in the democratization movement the “Arab Spring.”  In front of a police station, a 26-year-old street vendor in protest of being confiscated a rear car used to sell vegetables and apples by police officers. The fact that he died by burning himself was the impetus for the democratization demand movement. During this movement, 338 Tunisian citizens died in clashes with police and security forces. The international community such as Japan also wants to support the democratization of Tunisia for the stability of the Islamic world in the Middle East.

Tunisia was once a country boasting abundant agriculture, but it has become an importer of agricultural products due to the decrease in agricultural land due to drought such as global warming and the increase in population. Soaring international grain prices have placed a heavy burden on young people in Tunisia like the street vender who died by himself.

It is also said that the Roman Empire considered the war with Tunisia-based Carthage  because it heard the fame that the figs from Tunisia were too sweet and thought that Tunisia’s land was needed to maintain the empire’s economy.

Carthage カルタゴの遺跡

The Zirid dynasty, which is not well known in Japan, was the Berbers who ruled Libya and Algeria from the present Tunisia called ʾIfrīqīyah (Berbers are people whose native language is the Berber languages ​​that live widely in North Africa and have Islamic beliefs). It was the Islamic dynasty. (973-1148) The dynasty has extended its influence to Spain on the Iberian Peninsula, and has also established a small dynasty in Granada. Historian Ibn Khaldun said the Zirid dynasty is the largest and most prosperous Berbers’ dynasty he had known.

In Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, one Tohoku University international student, Amira Mahel, stayed at the home of Yoshikane Hiratsuka, the mayor of Monoucho in 1992, in Monoucho (Monoucho, merged with Ishinomaki City in 2005). That was the trigger for the exchange with Tunisia. Ms. Maher and Mr. Hiratsuka seemed to have a good connection, and her brother was working at the Tunisian embassy in Japan, so the exchange between Monoucho and Tunisia progressed.

In 1997, Monoucho named the town road under construction “Tunisian Street” on the occasion of the visit of the Tunisian ambassador. Also, in September 2000, “Carthage Street” appeared after the urban state of Tunisia “Carthage” that fought against the Roman Empire, and in September 2001, “Jasmine Street” was named as the third street after Tunisia. The ceremony was held in the presence of Ambassador Salah Hannachi, and the sapling of Jasmine, a flower representing Tunisia, was donated by the ambassador to Momou Town. By the way, the revolution that overthrew the administration of dictator President Ben Ali in January 2011 is commonly called the “Jasmine Revolution”.

Tunisian Street チュニジア通り、石巻市

Only two months later, Ishinomaki City was hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake, but suffered enormous damage, with 3,256 direct deaths, 234 indirect deaths, and 451 missing. The Tunisian embassy in Japan began to solicit donations from the disaster-stricken Ishinomaki city through charity concerts sponsored by the embassy and the proceeds of the reception party at the embassy’s residence, led by Tunisian residents in Japan. On April 15th, Tunisian dishes such as couscous were cooked at the “Nigiwai Exchange Square” in front of Ishinomaki Station. Chargé d’Affaires Mohammed Tobersi, who prepared meals, encouraged the victims, saying, “I believe that Ishinomaki City will be revived as a beautiful city.”


 チュニジアの民主化要求運動「アラブの春」の際によく歌われた「「Kelmti Horra(邦題:わたしの言葉は自由)」が代表曲のチュニジア出身のシンガーソングライター、エメル・マトルティが来日公演を行っている。音楽を通じて人とつながりたいという。











epa02631335 A boy and his family are rescued by Japan’s Self-Defense Forces members in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan, about 270km north of Tokyo,13 March, 2011 after strong earthquakes and tsunami killing more than 1,000 people were hitting northern Japan and Japanese capital of Tokyo area on 11 March. EPA/KIMIMASA MAYAMA
Tunisian people were helping victims in front of Ishinomaki Station
Fight!, Ishinomaki!
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