There's an intriguing tale about Tunisia on the French-language blog, Chakchouka Tunisienne, and I'm hoping readers may be able to shed some more light on it.
It says a businessman in Sfax was getting married and invited
Belhassen Trabelsi, the president's brother-in-law to his wedding. Trabelsi turned up, blessed the newlyweds and even posed with them for photos.
A few days later, an emissary from Trabelsi allegedly presented the businessman/groom with a bill for 30,000 dinars ($23,000) and told him: "That's normal, you got Belhassen to your wedding, Belhassen agreed to let himself be photographed with you and your wife. You're going to use these pictures to make your business prosper. Think about what you'll earn through these pictures. It is a ticket to all kinds of facilities. So it's normal to compensate Mr Trabelsi."
I haven't heard of this happening before in Arab countries. The businessman isn't named, so I'm wondering if it's true. For all I know, it may happen regularly with well-connected people who get invited to weddings, or maybe it's just an urban myth. Or maybe Trabelsi's "representative" was simply an impostor trying to make a quick buck. Any clues gratefully received.
Posted by Brian Whitaker, 13 September 2009.