MONTREAL—While revelations of greed and excess of Tunisia’s former first family continue to disturb its citizens the world over, Nabil Chattali felt compelled to act.
The 46-year-old Tunisian Montrealer marched up to the soaring stone mansion at the end of an exclusive cul-de-sac and taped a homemade sign to the door.
“Property of the Tunisian people,” it read.
The house, on Belvedere Place in the wealthy enclave of Westmount, is believed to belong to Mohamed Sakher El Materi, the 30-year-old son-in-law of ousted Tunisian president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.
With a satisfied smile, Chattali taped another sign over the house number, and another on the garage door.
“These are assets of the Tunisian people, bought with money stolen from the Tunisian people,” he said. “So they must go back to the Tunisian people.”
It was one man’s gesture, far from his home country, in solidarity with an extraordinary street-level uprising that last week deposed a dictator who had been in power for more than two decades.
“I am Tunisian and I love my country,” Chattali said, explaining his actions on Monday. “Just because we are living abroad doesn’t mean we can’t do something.”
The luxurious house on the hill, bought for $2.5 million in 2008, attracted a lot of attention last week when it was rumoured El Materi and his wife, the president’s daughter Nesrine Ben Ali, 24, were fleeing the country and heading to Montreal.
The couple is reportedly holed up in Disneyland…