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© 2007-2016
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January 22, 2011

2011 in Tunisia - the Great Expectations

While freedom is a right, it still requires endless human sacrifices.

On December 17, 2010, an unemployed Tunisian man, Mohamed
Bouazizi, aged 26, from
Sidi Bouzid, in southern Tunisia, set himself
on fire to protest against joblessness, sparking a popular uprising
against the government. Two more suicides followed, spurring protests
across several other Tunisian cities. The social movement - initiated
by lawyers, journalists, and labor unions - demanded more work opportunities and reform
of the government of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. [Global Voices on Line...]
15 Jan - Saudi Arabia: Fleeing, Tunisian Ex-President Ben Ali Lands in KSA
16 Jan - Arab World: After Tunisia, Who's Next?
16 Jan - Tunisia: Fears of Insecurity Overshadow Joys of Freedom
19 Jan - Middle East: A Closer Look at Tunisia's Uprising
21 Jan - Algeria: Algerians salute the courage of the Tunisian people

Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia - Mohamed Bouazizi spent his whole life on a
dusty, narrow street here, in a tiny, three-room house with a concrete
patio where his mother hung the laundry and the red chilis to dry.
By the time Mr. Bouazizi was 26, his work as a fruit vendor had earned
him just enough money to feed his mother, uncle and five brothers and
sisters at home. He dreamed about owning a van. [The NY Times...]

What drives an ordinary man to burn himself to death?
Yousef al-Qaradawi, a prominent and influential Egyptian cleric who lives in Qatar and
has a TV show on
Al Jazeera, spoke sympathetically about Mr. Bouazizi and others
who attempted suicide, saying that they were driven to it by social injustice and that
the responsibility for their deaths lay with the rulers of their countries.
[The NY Times...]

- Analysts say several self-immolation cases or attempted acts in Egypt, now numbering
more than a dozen, seem to be driven by broadly similar complaints to those that drove
Tunisians to the streets and toppled their president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
- A man has died after setting himself on fire in Saudi Arabia's south-western region of
Jizan, officials have said.

- In Mauritania, a man who set himself on fire also died in hospital on Saturday. [BBC...]
- In Algeria, s
everal towns including the capital experienced days of rioting, provoked by
a jump in food prices. Two people died and hundreds were injured during clashes between
rioters and police, officials said. At least four men set themselves on fire in provincial towns
in the past week.
Mr. Bouazizi may yet provoke more fiery deaths across the Middle East
if the revolution he helped spark is seen as successful.

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