Amin Allal
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‘A man, a real man!’
Halima, a woman rebel in Gafsa (Tunisia)
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‘Rajjala ‘alihum’: the expression seems paradoxical. The literal meaning is ‘she is more of a man than the men’, or more precisely, ‘she has more masculine qualities than them’. In the Tunisian dialect, rajjal means someone who has courage, but also honour and integrity. The expression, which refers to exclusively ‘masculine’ qualities, those of the trustworthy man, proves to be ambivalent since it is applied to Halima, a courageous young woman from a working-class area of Gafsa, the capital of the eponymous region, located some 350 kilometres south-west of Tunis, and home to about a hundred thousand inhabitants. This chapter is a portrait of this woman who played a role at the local level during the uprisings of 2011.

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