Tunis: The drastic changes brought about in Tunisia that ultimately forced President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s to flee the country have been described as the ‘first WikiLeaks revolution’ because the whistleblower website played a major role in stirring up public anger against corruption of its leader.
According to The Scotsman, the revolution is virtually unprecedented in modern Arab history and has already led to experts predicting other countries in the region could follow suit.
After Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on Friday, protesters in Cairo chanted, "Ben Ali, tell Mubarak a plane is waiting for him, too!”
US diplomatic cables released by the whistleblower website ‘WikiLeaks’ compared the President and his siblings as "The Family", to a Mafia crime organisation. It also revealed that Ben Ali`s wife, Leila, had made huge profits out of building an exclusive school.
One cable was banned in Tunisia, but its contents became widely known.
"Corruption in the inner circle is growing. Even average Tunisians are keenly aware of it, and the chorus of complaints is rising. Tunisians intensely dislike, even hate, first lady Leila Trabelsi and her family. In private, regime opponents mock her," US Ambassador Robert Godec wrote.
The cables further claimed that two nephews of Ben Ali’s had seized the yacht of a French businessman in 2006.
“Although the petty corruption rankles, it is the excesses of President Ben Ali’s family that inspire outrage among Tunisians. With Tunisians facing rising inflation and high unemployment, the conspicuous displays of wealth and persistent rumours of corruption have added fuel to the fire,” they added.