Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Today the newly elected Tunisian Parliament, the first democratically-elected parliament this small country has ever seen, gathered along with a number of guests-of-honor at the Bardo Palace. 

Today Béji Caïd-Sebsi was sworn in as the President of Tunisia, the first democratically-elected president this small country has ever seen. 

Today Mr. Caïd-Sebsi honoured the three victims of political assassination during the reign of the religious party: Lotfi Nagdh, Chokri Belaïd, and Mohamed Brahmi.

Today Béji Caïd-Sebsi went to the Presidential Palace to take over his official functions there (although he plans on living in his own home).

Today Tunisians have achieved what seemed impossible 5 years ago--a democracy. They have thrown off dictatorship and extremisms. They have persisted despite corruption, chaos, filth, and the possibility of civil war. 

Today, finally, I would like to introduce myself, for I have maintained a relative anonymity in this blog because I have lived under dictatorship and with uncertainty. 

I am Nadia Mamelouk, PhD., 
aka MulticoloredPieces, 
aka MulticoloredSnippets.

I am an ex-pat American artist from Oregon living on a small citrus farm with my family. In addition, I have made a commitment to teaching English in a Tunisian university because, like the whole country, the educational system has been in free-fall since the 2011 Revolution...I hope I can help in some small way. 

Today I can see myself better.

Today I have very short hair for "Bootcamp" over at the Sketchbook Skool. 

Today I might be regretting the short haircut as it is snowing all over northern Tunisia and within 5 miles of my house.  

Today is a new day full of Hope 
and so we begin the New Year full of Hope.

May your New Year be filled with Hope as well.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Finally the Holidays

The run-off presidential elections, scheduled for the 21st of December, have had everyone in Tunisia concerned and on edge. The borders to Libya were closed. A voting center was attacked in Hafouz (central Tunisia) when someone started shooting at soldiers, resulting in the death of the assailant. There was an assassination attempt on Beji Caid-Sebsi, one of the candidates, on the eve of the elections. All leaves and holidays were cancelled for soldiers, national guard, and the police who were at every voting center. 

A family member volunteered to be an observer as thousands of observers were required to help the voting process run smoothly. Tunisia's elections under dictatorship have always been falsified, consequently the role of the observers was even more important in order to break a very bad habit. I drew an observer's badge into my small sketchbook to commemorate this historic event.

And historic it is. Tunisia has never had truly democratic and free elections for either Parliament or President. It is now official: with 55.6% of the vote, Beji Caid-Sebsi of the 'Nida Tunis' Party will be the first democratically elected president of Tunisia. 

The need for vigilance remains. Certain Western powers and their satellites are unhappy with the development of a true democracy in the Arab world. Certain Gulf countries do not want to see women sharing equality with men in a Muslim country (nearly half the Parliament is women). And certain thugs associated with dictatorship would like to grab back power and bring back the dictator. This budding democracy must be defended, tooth and nail.

Although much work remains to be done, a festive mood is in the air and it is the holidays. The Transition Period has come to an end and Tunisians can celebrate the New Year with hope.

May you have a peaceful and joyous Holiday Season.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Holding Things Together

Basically, things are holding together. We're trying to get to the end of the semester and the beginning of school vacation and to the last round of the presidential elections, which coincide, interestingly enough. Thankfully, the first truly democratically elected Parliament in Tunisia has begun to function. As soon as a president is elected, a government will be formed by the majority party, "Nida Tunis." There is, of course, some urgency, as it feels like we're adrift on a rudderless boat for the moment.

Consequently, in the spirit of things holding together and holding things together, I stitched up a sketchbook/journal. The idea of a sketchbook as a holding place, a Memory project, pleases me. I could complain about the limited availability of good art supplies, however, I did manage to find rather heavy (224g/m2) Canson paper in packets (24x32cm/9.5"x12.5") at the beginning of the school year. I unabashedly admit that I bought ten packets. And that felt like luxury. 

Apart from the paper, I made do with materials I found at home. I made two covers by gluing 3 pieces of recycled lightweight cardboard together for each cover. Then I painted 4 sheets of Canson paper with watercolors, which I glued onto the covers. 

I folded my Canson paper in half to make the pages and stitched it all up. 
For sewing, I used a thin cotton string that I waxed by running over a piece of bee's wax. Fortunately, there are some good instructions on Youtube. The inside covers gave me a chance to play with the bits and pieces of leftover painted paper.

I LUV my new sketchbook/journal. 
It satisfies my soul in every way.
Yes, I'd say that we're holding things together with style! 

NB: Blogger has insisted upon inserting the annoying word verification despite the fact that my "Show word verification?" setting says "NO". I suppose I'll have to shoot off an email to Blogger. My apologies for the inconvenience of the word verification--the technology is wonderful when it works, but, when there's a glitch, what a pain in the neck....