On the 17 December 2010, one month before Tunisian President Ben Ali was to step down, a street vendor in Sidi Bouzid set himself on fire in protest at the harassment and humiliation that he faced from municipal authorities. Mohammed Bouazizi’s heroic act of martyrdom sparked a revolution that spread across Tunisia and then throughout the Arab world.
The successful momentum of the revolution in Tunisia awoke a region that has suffered under a long line of authoritarian regimes. Arabs from all walks of life are standing up to their oppressors and through protest are redefining the power relationships which long governed Arab politics. Despite a decade spent in the west discussing the threat of Islamic terror, Arabs are not turning to transnational jihad, but a disciplined refusal of violence by citizens which is challenging national and international politics as we know it. Return to Arab Awakening
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