Tunisia: The Price of Prosperity

Photograph for TIME by Samuel Bollendorff / Oeil Public

THE TUNISIAN DREAM: A billboard in Tunis advertises the hit TV show Star Academy Maghreb

Sinking into a plush armchair, Mounir Khélifa glances around the lobby of a luxury Tunis hotel and chuckles at the transformation he has seen in his lifetime. "Imagine: I come from a small village," says Khélifa, whose father raised 15 children on the proceeds of his olive grove, and sent all 10 sons to school. Khélifa went on to earn a Ph.D. in literature at Yale, and at 55, teaches the poetry of Wordsworth and Milton at Manouba University in Tunis. Khélifa may sound extraordinary. But in Tunisia, he says, "mine is a common story. I am by no means...

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