Monday, January 24, 2011

The Sidi Bouzid Revolution

Journalists are calling the recent events in Tunisia "The Jasmine Revolution," a revolt that was sparked by a student who doused himself in gasoline and set himself on fire in front of a government building last December. His act triggered a spontaneous revolt that ousted 23-year regime leader Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi on January 14th.

While "The Jasmine Revolution" is a catchy term for the recent events, I found a post on The Arabist that warns against using that term:

[...] there's another reason to stay away from "Jasmine Revolution." It was the term that deposed President Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali used in 1987 to describe his own takeover, in those initial years of his reign that offered some hope for a democratic transition. To reuse Ben Ali's propaganda phrase at this point seems perverse — whereas something like the Sidi Bouzid Revolution, marking ground zero of the movement that led to the dictator's downfall, seems so much more appropriate.

Horrified that my support for the recent Tunisian uprising against the Ben Ali regime was unintentionally supporting Ben Ali himself, I promptly got on blogspot to warn you all.

Seriously, don't call it that. Let's go with the author of the post and call it the Sidi Bouzid Revolution, where the frustrated 22-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi symbolically protested against his unresponsive government and the rampant structural unemployment that choked his country.

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