Terrorism in Tunisia – The Near Miss
Tunisia is situated between Algeria and Libya. Both of those countries have suffered greatly since the Arab Spring in 2011. The revolution in Libya resulted in a violent over throw of the government and the execution of long time leader Muammar Gaddafi. There is some dispute as to the exact manner of the Coup de grâce, but it is hard fact that he was dragged down the street behind a truck shortly after being shot. Tunisia overthrew President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in a much more efficient and humane fashion than was used in the removal of the Libyan strongman. I went to Tunisia in March of 2015. At the time the country was recovering and considered to be a relatively safe place. It wasn’t a Switzerland nor was it an Afghanistan. I arrived in Tunis and for several days traveled through the country. I went to the ancient ruins of Carthage and the city of Dougga in the far north. I urged my driver to stay away from the Libyan border and at no point did I ever feel unsafe. During the first week of March I went to the Bardo Museum in Tunisia. It is an incredible museum and is second only to the museum in Cairo in terms of its collection. The museum is modern, well lit, well heated/cooled and with a courteous and kind staff. I spent several hours there and left with a happy heart and a few more useless facts in my head. I will repeat again that I never felt unsafe, especially in the Bardo. On March 18 the Bardo was attacked by ISIS. A total of 24 people were killed and dozens more wounded. As of 2018 it is the deadliest attack in Tunisian history. The day I was in the museum there were not even 24 guests there; I was one of only 3 people. If the terrorists had decided to attack a little over a week earlier I would have been in the middle of the gunfire. You can prepare, you can train, you can research and you can go to places that have had few attacks, but at the end of the day sometimes it just pays to be lucky.
Tunisia has since had an increase of terrorism attacks. The country remains listed as low risk according to the US State Department.