A young Tunisian lawyer, Yasmine Attia, presented a laudable case in the 25th debating contest at the memorial of Caen in France. The young attorney received the Jury Prize on 2 February 2014, for a speech revolving around “Jihad Niqua’ah.”
Holding a Master in Business Law and a Diploma of Advanced Studies in Public Law from the University of Social Sciences of Toulouse, Yasmine started practising 5 years ago as a lawyer in Tunis. She also works as an assistant in the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences of Tunis where she teaches human rights. The French minister of Justice, Christiane Taubira, personally presented the trophy to the young woman.
Yasmine Attia related in her speech the misadventure of a 15 year old school girl, Ines, who found refuge in religion after the failure of an arranged marriage. Ines was attending a Salafist mosque when she was persuaded to leave for Syria where there are 152 customary marriages. Inspired by the media merry go round about the phenomenon; the lawyer knew perfectly how to capture the Jury’s attention. The pleading sounded more like a spicy political speech than a conventional debating format.
Attia took the occasion to underscore the government’s passivity in tackling such pressing and depressing situations. She criticized the inertia of authorities concerning the proliferation of uncontrolled koranic schools and the stark increase in the dropout rate in Tunisia. The eloquent woman did not miss the opportunity to lambast the non-protection of women from sexual violence, human trafficking, Wahabist indoctrination and the lurking obscurantist trend tolerated in the post revolutionary country.
Even if Attia’s speech implied very clear political overtones, it presented a very good case, one that mirrored the Tunisian uneasiness on a number of issues. Her presentation offered a better and realistic insight to the current effervescent situation of the country on the one hand, and the previous government’s ineptitude over such issues.
Watch the full video of Yasmine Attia in French: