A Police Station on Fire

January 14th, 2011. After having spent the day protesting downtown, a dozen friends manage to make their way back to a house in La Goulette, which partly serves as HQ for the Revolution. However, when they arrive, the police station next to their house is on fire. More than nine years later, digitally connected across several different countries, they recall this unforgettable day and night.
14 April 2020
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Created by
Inkyfada Podcast
Monia Ben Hamadi, Bochra Triki
Music, editing, sound design & mixing
Oussema Gaidi
Voice over
Bochra Triki
Roua Khlifi, Yasmin Houamed
Music Sample
Lab'Z Orchestra
Marwen Ben Mustapha
With the collaboration of
Yassine Kawana

A dozen or so friends met up at a house in La Goulette which served partly as a place of residence, but also as headquarters for revolutionary activities. Makeshift mattresses, musical instruments and blankets giving off a distinct damp smell - here they would stay for hours reimagining the future, "we were discussing a revolution long before 2011".

On that day, the group of friends left the house equipped with signs, determined to take part in the demonstrations and the excitement of the crowd. On Habib Bourguiba Avenue, by way of the crowd, they naturally dispersed.

Ghazi, Marion, Virginia, Wissal, Boumjida, Tarek, Juliette, Hayder, Charlene and Harzalli each found themselves on different sides of the Avenue: on a rooftop, stuck in a building or looking for an open restaurant to eat.

The situation escalated as demonstrators were arrested and assaulted, and the friends each individually decided that it was better to return to La Goulette. However, when they arrived they discovered that the police station next to their house was on fire.

Panic set in. A group of people broke in to loot the police station just before the fire broke out. At the same time, rumours of Ben Ali's escape began circulating. Scenes of celebrations were interspersed with widespread anxiety as posters of the dictator were being vandalised.

Having first considered seeking refuge somewhere else in Tunis, the group finally, but reluctantly, decided to help extinguish the fire. In order to protect themselves and prevent the flames from reaching their house, they were forced to spray water on this building that was symbolic for and synonymous with the oppression and violence of Ben Ali's dictatorship.

More than nine years later, the group of friends, now spread out over various different countries, reconnected online to recall that unforgettable day and night. Currently living through the individual and collective experience of confinement during the Covid-19 pandemic, they furthermore compare this present struggle to that of the past.

Where were you on January 14th ?

Throughout the year leading up to the tenth anniversary of the revolution, Inkyfada looks back on the events of January 14, 2011 in Tunis. Through the personal accounts of individuals on the ground, an alternative documentation of contemporary history is formed: one that is based on several different perspectives.

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Inkyfada Podcast is the first platform entirely dedicated to original Tunisian podcasts, and was conceived by Inkyfada media in collaboration with the in-house research and development laboratory, InkyLab.
Inkyfada joined the global podcast boom in 2017, when the team produced the first Tunisian audio documentary, diving deep into the belly of the El Kamour struggle taking place in the desert.
Since then, Inkyfada Podcast has produced a wide variety of documentaries, investigations, and podcast series, as well as articles accompanied by music; covering a multitude of contemporary issues in order to offer an immersive and alternative podcast experience.
Whilst exclusively offering audio content, the Inkyfada Podcast team upholds the same core values and principles of inkyfada.com, and is committed to producing high quality content though a dynamic and meticulous production process.
In addition to the permanent team, Inkyfada podcast works closely with various journalists, artists, illustrators, musicians and other content creators in order to diversify the platform and support artistic creativity.
These podcasts differ from traditional radiophonic content in that the applied production and editing process is more akin to cinematographic techniques, in addition to being web-based, downloadable and accessible on demand.
Additionally, Inkyfada Podcast uniquely offers subtitles in French, Arabic and English for all audio content, the majority of which is recorded in Tunisian or in the preferred language of the speaker in question.

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