Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution

Tunisia was the first, but it likely will not be the last. Next on the chopping block; likely Egypt. The protests have already started. It has the potential to be a truly pivotal moment in the history of the Arab world.

"after a 29-day popular uprising against unemployment, police brutality and the regime's corruption. It was the worst unrest since Ben Ali took over.

Not once in my 43 years have I thought that I'd see an Arab leader toppled by his people. It is nothing short of poetic justice that it was neither Islamists nor invasion-in-the-name-of-democracy that sent the waters rushing onto Ben Ali's ship but, rather, the youth of his country.

Their rage at political and economic disenfranchisement spilled over last month with the desperate act of an unemployed man. Mohammed Bouazizi, 26, distraught when police confiscated his unlicensed produce stand, set himself on fire on Dec. 17 and died on Jan. 3. Soon, several other unemployed youth tried to commit suicide, and at least one of them did. Is there a more poignant portrayal of what ails the Arab world than images of its young people killing themselves as their leaders get older and richer?

"To most outside observers, the Tunisian uprising seemed to appear from nowhere: Seemingly minor “food-price protests,” which began four weeks ago in the city of Sidi Bouzid with the self-immolation of a young man and spent December and early January in bottom-of-the-page news briefs, suddenly exploded into a mob takeover of the streets of the capital on Friday, leading long-time President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali – within a period of hours – to sack the government, call an election and then flee the country on his private jet, leaving the Prime Minister in control of a caretaker regime.

The people – and these were clearly ordinary citizens, not bearded Islamists or foreign-funded elites – won the day, and their country. It’s fair to say the Arab world will never be quite the same.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Like what you read; Subscribe/Fan/Follow