Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tunisia's Self-Immolations

The conventional date for the start of the Arab Spring is December 17, 2010, when Muhammad Bouazizi set himself alight in Sidi Bouzid.  As I drill more deeply into these matters, I suspect the start needs to be moved back, as Bouazizi's act was publicized by union and student activists who had been associated with labor unrest in that area for several weeks prior.  Nonetheless, Bouazizi is the symbol, and unfortunately continues to have copycats:
Adel Khadri, a 27-year-old cigarette street vendor set himself on fire on Tunis’ main street Habib Bourguiba Avenue on March 12, 2013. According to eye witnesses, Khadri shouted: “This is a young man who sells cigarettes because of unemployment,” before flames consumed his body. Khadri passed away early this morning at Ben Arous’ Burns Hospital.
Later at the link there are some statistics, with 10 self-immolations in Tunisia in 2010 jumping to 91 in 2011, before slipping to 63 in 2012 and just 11 in 2013.  Habib Bourguiba is the most important public street in Tunis.  I will be walking along it next week.



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