By Lutfi Zaitoun

It had never occurred to the young Muhammad Bouazizi, a native and resident of Sidi Bouzid, that his decision, made in a sudden moment of despair, and after he had been attacked by a municipal employee, to pour gasoline on himself and set himself alight in a dilapidated Tunisian area plagued by drought would light the flames of popular anger in such a manner that - were such indignation to spread - it could pose a threat to all major Tunisian cities and cause radical changes in the political structure of the country. The people of Tunisia, this small country in the Maghreb that stretches along the Mediterranean coast, have been assisted neither by history nor geography, and were provided with no terrain which might protect them from the havoc caused by the state, or by which they might find protection as they repel the state when it transgresses in its unjust treatment of its subjects. The people of this country have now begun to take to the streets, after long periods of silent patience and ostensible calm, as if they were an inanimate object, like a single mechanism, in order defiantly to face the state and alter the balance of power in their favour.

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