Tunisia: Young people say they're 'Happy' dancing to Pharrell

  • 5 February 2014
A still from the Happy (We Are From Bizerta) video
Image caption The videos have stirred debate in Tunisia, with some people saying the videos are immoral

Young people across Tunisia are tapping into an online trend, posting videos of themselves dancing to the Pharrell Williams song Happy as a defiant reaction against the tense conditions in the country.

The clips, which have attracted tens of thousands of views on YouTube, have been criticised as "debauchery and moral decay" by conservative religious groups who disapprove of young Tunisians dancing to an American pop song, the Magharebia news website reports.

But others, such as Teacher Mohamed Naceri, say Tunisia's revolution has failed young people, who don't see their prospects improving. "This is one form of self-expression and an outlet so they don't explode. I personally prefer this to extremism and terrorism."

Magharebia says the first Tunisian video was shot in the northern city of Bizerte, and had over 177,000 views on YouTube by Wednesday. Fairouz, who supervised the making of the clip, says he wanted to show: "We are happy despite of everything." There are now lots of similar clips from other Tunisian cities, including Sousse, Kairouan and the capital Tunis.

Image caption The videos are reminiscent of student videos from 2013 depicting a Tunisian "Harlem shake"

The "We are from..." trend appears to have started in Paris - that clip has more than 400,000 views - with other videos from Tokyo, Moscow and Madagascar's Antananarivo.

Tunisia's parliament approved a new constitution in late January, after a protracted battle to drop references to Islamic law and protect personal freedoms. It is hoped the passage of the bill will ease political deadlock and pave the way for elections later in the year.

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