It is fifteen months after the Tunisian revolution and finally, the first words of the constitution are being written.
I am sitting in the Constitutional Commission in charge of writing the preamble, fundamental principles and amendments to the constitution. The three months of discussion with my twenty-one colleagues on the commission should have produced the preamble, “the spirit of the constitution.” Instead, the rapporteur in charge of writing the preamble based on our collective discussions brought back a text that has nothing to do with the objectives – and spirit – of the revolution. Instead, what we’ve seen is dry, disconnected from the revolution and strangely – for an assembly devoted to upholding our Arab identity – beholden to foreign concepts of what a preamble “ought” to look like.
It reads more like the communique of a political party rather than a proclamation of the passion that united us on January 14th.
A preamble is not easy to write, but it is easy “to feel.” As the spirit of the constitution, the preamble should bring us back to the high emotional tenor of January 14th. The sound of the people’s hope and fury should echo in its words and rhythms. We should heard the sound of the crowds chanting “de-GAGE de-GAGE de-GAGE!”…the heartbeat of a resuscitated people. The Tunisians who broke their silence and took to the street were chanting the nation’s heartbeat. We owe it to our constituents to echo their emotions – their poetry – in the preamble.