Mohamed Bouazizi And The Arab Spring

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Mohamed Bouazizi (محمد البوعزيزي) (March 29, 1984 – January 4, 2011) Mohamed Bouazizi was a Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire to protest against the malfunctioning Tunisian government. Mohamed grew up in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia. His father died from a heart attack when Mohamed was three years old, and his uncle became his new stepfather. He and his six siblings went to school in a one-room country-school in Sidi Salah, a village some miles away from Sidi Bouzid. Mohamed did not finish his education, but dropped out of high school. Many journalists reported after his death that he had a university degree, but Mohamed’s sister stated differently. Due to Mohamed’s stepfather’s low salary, he could not support Mohamed with higher education. Mohamed, on his side, tried to support his sisters in getting them educated. Mohamed had different jobs since he was 10, and due to the fact that he did not have enough money to continue his studies, he started working full-time and gave up his own studies. Mohamed applied for enrolment in the army, but was rejected. He applied for various jobs, but he did not succeed in this either. Therefore he started as a vendor, in the streets of Tunisia. It has been said by Mohamed’s friends that he was a very modest person, who sometimes even gave free fruit and vegetables to poor families. The police had targeted Mohamed through the years by confiscating his small businesses. But Mohamed had few options, therefore he continued as a street vendor. One day, the police started harassing Bouazizi again, apparently because “he did not have a vendor’s permit”. There have been discussions upon vending in the streets in Tunisia, and although the Tunisian law states that vending is allowed, police frequently misused their power by troubling street-salesmen. The police used their power, unfair and illegal though, to fine him,

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