Few would dispute the significant advances Tunisians have made towards democratization since escaping Ben Ali's dictatorship in 2011. But these accomplishments have remained elitist matters, viewed with apathy by the wider population.
More than 120 community radio activists from 14 Arab countries gathered at the lowest spot on Earth to talk about the challenges of producing, broadcasting and sustaining community owned media, especially radio.
Like American public diplomacy efforts in the Arab world, the Confucius Institute--the franchise of Chinese educational facilities that was promoted in the Arabic CRI broadcast--also encounters opposition in some countries where it maintains a presence.
Both countries are now weakened by violence. Another path is possible. Taking it requires the willingness of politicians, especially those who are governing, to open the dialogue and create a broad consensus. This is the only choice; the other leads to the abyss.
Tunisia's jihadists have made their stance perfectly clear regarding their refusal to compromise with any push toward liberal democracy. The ball is now solely in the court of the moderate Islamists currently holding Tunisia's seat of power.
Today in Tunisia and Egypt, most of the people who staff the police and intelligence services are holdovers from the deposed regime -- while some of the very Islamists whom they were trained to undermine hold the reins of power.
Over the last two days in Tunis I have met with leaders of the business community, government agencies, development agencies and young people, and they all believe that there is hope and the biggest challenge is to restore dignity.