Story by Grace Mortensen
Former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali is reported to be enjoying his time out of office.
“Surprisingly, retirement is treating me very well,” said the former leader.
Ben Ali ended his 23 year dictatorship on Jan. 14, when the people of Tunisia kindly asked him to step down.
“They couldn’t have been nicer about it. I mean, there were parades in the streets and everything. Some guy got so emotional that he lit himself on fire! All for me! Go out with a bang, I always say,” he declared with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his big, brown, puppy-dog eyes.
The former leader boarded a plane headed for Paris, France but was told by French authorities he would not be allowed to enter. The former president and his family, while in the air, decided to change their plans and headed to Saudi Arabia.
“A little last minute stress, but what family doesn’t have that while planning vacations?” said the ever-flexible Ben Ali. When asked about his plans for his time out of work, he responded, “Well, I’m a little low on funds for some reason, so we might not be traveling as extravagantly as usual.”
Even though the former leader is planning to save money while on his break, he is sure to splurge on some pretty important guests. “I hear Mubarak is going to come visit me at my beach home. And news has it that Interpol wants to speak with me. I’m really flattered, because I love their music.”
The weather is expected to be very nice in Saudi Arabia, and the Ben Ali family is looking forward to spending time together. “Over the last 23 years, my family has really taken second place. It wasn’t fair to them. I just gave so much to the Tunisian people. I was re-elected so many times that I kinda forgot what it was like to be a dad.”