(CNN) — When scores of disgruntled Tunisians took to the streets in January to demand the ouster of their country’s president, actor Dhafer L’Abidine was watching from afar.
Based in the UK, L’Abidine, who is one of Tunisia’s most famous actors, went through a roller-coaster of emotions as he watched the unfolding of the uprising that subsequently spurred the Arab Spring.
“I was trying to keep in touch all the time and see what happens and follow the news and understand what’s happening,” remembers L’Abidine.
“You go through everything,” he says. “Sadness, frustration and then happy moments at the end so it was a difficult time but I think it was an amazing time and I think what’s happening now is quite amazing because you’ve got the first free elections coming in October — it’s a new page in the Tunisian history.”
The months of civil unrest culminated in the collapse of the regime of Tunisia’s President Zine el Abidine who ruled the country for more than 20 years.
Today, the north African country is still dealing with the aftermath of the revolution but people remain optimistic that the move to democracy can still be achieved.
L’Abidine, who has set up a production company in Tunisia, believes the recent events will open up opportunities for artists in the country, giving them the freedom to express themselves without any restrictions.
“Before, if you write something that doesn’t suit the ideas of the dictatorship or the government then there’s no way you’re going to make it,” says L’Abidine, a former football player and model.
“Now, at least we’ve got the freedom to write stories that we want to tell — the censorship is not there. I think this is a great opportunity for artists, whether singers or writers or filmmakers, just to go for it and use the opportunity into progressing the movie industry back home.”
The talented actor is perhaps best-known for his part in big-budget romantic comedy “Sex and the City 2,” in which he played the role of a charming host whose job was to look after the film’s four main characters on a trip to Abu Dhabi.
“It was great fun,” says L’Abidine about his part in the Hollywood movie. “I had some filming to do in New York and then in Morocco and it was a great experience — just to be involved in such an iconic TV program and then a film, so I’m very happy about having been part of that.” Conitnue Reading
Source: CNN African Voices