Today I learned that Tunisians have a widespread practice of ignoring the government’s zoning regulations and not paying the government for construction permits. At least that’s how I interpret this government minister’s complaint about “anarchic construction” and “anarchic neighborhoods.”

Now I wonder which “stakeholders” he wants to team up with to “put a permanent end to this phenomenon,” and what he considers “civil society.” I would have thought “society” would include the people building stuff without the ministry’s permission, and the “stakeholders” would be those people and their immediate neighbors. But then again, I’m not interested in protecting and extending governmental power; the minister probably only counts people who are.

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