The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2021

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JULY-AUGUST 2021 79 untouched by modernity. Nawa’s resi- dents are unaware of the protests that forced out the fictional country’s dictator (clearly Ben Ali, but only referred to in the novel as “the Handsome One” to distinguish him from “the Old One,” or Habib Bourguiba, whom Ben Ali ousted in the 1987 “medical coup”). They are therefore confused when young, well-dressed, secular campaign workers come to Nawa to seek their electoral support during the run-up to the October 2011 elections. As the author explains, “the villagers were completely discombobulated. Most of them hadn’t even chosen their spouses, and now they were meant to choose who would govern them.” Soon thereafter, a second group of canvassers, consisting solely of bearded men representing the “Party of God,” visits Nawa. They speak stridently in clas- sical Arabic rather than the Tunisian dia- lect and are dressed “like the Bedouins in medieval Saudi Arabia.” These outsiders bring food, clothing and blankets for the villagers, who enthusiastically accept them. Sidi is the only one in Nawa not caught up in the enthusiasm; to him, the pigeon (the emblem of the Party of God, printed on ballots to assist illiterate vot- ers) looks like “a crow of ill omen.” Along with the blankets and clothing comes a hive of foreign killer hornets, Manai’s metaphor for Salafists. The hornets destroy one of Sidi’s hives and threaten the rest. With the help of fellow villagers, Sidi journeys to the capital city to enlist expert advice from a niece whose education he had insisted on when her parents died. His niece and her husband—loosely modeled after the University of Manouba dean besieged in 2012—provide the knowledge and means for Sidi to kill off the invading hornets. At the book’s con- clusion, the parable is brought to the fore when Sidi witnesses a Salafist attack on a military patrol. He throws down a hornet nest he had just immobilized, knowing that the liberated and enraged hornets will kill the Salafist terrorists. Social cohesion, Manai tells us, is required to defeat powerful invaders, be they killer hornets attacking a beehive or violent Salafists terrorizing a country. But just as Dr. Rieux cautions in the last sentence of Albert Camus’ novel The Plague , “the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good,” Sidi similarly acknowledges that the hornets “were there, hidden, threatening,” even as he hopes that his bees would be ready for them should they return. In a December 2020 discussion of his book co-hosted by the Middle East Insti- tute and George Mason University, Manai was realistic about the Tunisian revolu- tion but optimistic about the future. He aptly noted that “the revolution was a dream,” and that dreams inevitably con- front reality and disappoint, yet “the fruit of the revolution is not mature yet.” Freedom of speech was a very real accomplishment of the revolution, Manai said, and it “will be our weapon to change the situation” for the better. At the same time, much more must be achieved. The honeybees have their work cut out for them if they wish to survive, as do citizens in North Africa and the Middle East. Gordon Gray is the chief operating officer at the Center for American Progress. A retired career Foreign Service officer, he served as U.S. ambassador to Tunisia at the start of the Arab Spring and as deputy assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs. Murder, He Wrote Every Hill a Burial Place: The Peace Corps Murder Trial in East Africa Peter H. Reid, University Press of Kentucky, 2020, $36.95/hardcover, e-book available, 332 pages. Reviewed by John Ratigan In 1966, in a small village in Tanzania, a young American woman died when she fell from a rocky hill where she and her husband of 16 months were picnicking. Peverly Dennett Kinsey, known to everyone by the descriptive nickname “Peppy,” was a Peace Corps upper pri- mary school teacher who had met and married her husband, Bill Kinsey, also a PCV upper primary school teacher, while they were in Peace Corps train- ing at Syracuse University. Peppy had graduated only a few months before from Mount Holyoke College. Bill was older, a 1964 graduate of Washington and Lee University. At first, Peppy’s fall was thought to be a tragic accident, and the Peace Corps Alongwith the blankets and clothing comes a hive of foreign killer hornets, Manai’s metaphor for Salafists. The hornets destroy one of Sidi’s hives and threaten the rest.