In The Shadow of Mohamed Bouazizi

I recently have been doing a lot of thinking about The Digital Guerrilla Project. Strategic thinking. Wondering if what I have been doing up to now is adequate; wondering if I should stay the course or change the way I go forward. As part of this process I reread the story of the Tunisian Revolution (way back in 2010) and it’s catalyst, Mohamed Bouazizi.

I say catalyst specifically because nothing changed for Bouazizi. He died a miserable death on January 4, 2011. What his death did do was bring down a dictator and begin the Arab Spring.

He is an important figure to me because he committed suicide as an act of desperation before a power structure that refused to recognize his humanity or rights. He was denied dignity and justice. He set himself on fire in front of a government administration building in an effort to assert his human dignity and his right to justice.

In the aftermath of this act, his family refused to let his story die. They posted videos of peaceful protests to Facebook. Al Jazeera picked the story up off of Facebook. The protests grew so large and uncontrollable that the president of Tunisia resigned and fled the country within weeks of Bouazizi’s death.

He was a David taking on Goliath. He played the game the way it was supposed be played at first, and it got him nowhere for years. When he stopped playing the games he overturned the entire system, for a little while at least.

I was moved by Bouazizi’s story. I was, and still am, greatly saddened by this story. I don’t believe that anyone on earth should have to commit suicide in order to get social systems that are supposed to serve them to even acknowledge them. I much prefer stories like Lindsay Dove’s.



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