A. M. VASILIEV
Director of the Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Keywords: uprising, Arab world, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain
On December 17 last year, Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old Tunisian unemployed university graduate, tried to earn a living by selling vegetables and fruits from a cart. The police took his goods and insulted him. Attempts to complain to the authorities ended up throwing him out of the municipality. Insulted, desperate, deprived of a piece of bread, the young man committed self-immolation.
In terrible agony, he died a little more than two weeks later. For a Muslim, suicide is an exception in general, and such a terrible death has blown up Tunisian society.
UPRISING IN A TOURIST PARADISE
Thousands and then tens of thousands took to the streets to protest against the inhumane regime, oppression, unemployment, corruption, and the dictatorship of President Ben Ali and his clan. Despite harsh measures and the killing of several demonstrators, the police retreated in front of the masses of rioters. President Ben Ali fled (France refused to accept him, and Saudi Arabia granted him asylum), the country plunged into chaos, and his former supporters tried to hold on to the fragile power, but many of them simply fled.
Until recently, Tunisia was considered a paradise for tourists, a stable country that even fought for independence exclusively by political means. Since the first President X. Bourguiba the republic has become a secular country, with a high level of education, a fairly large middle class, and gender equality (polygamy is officially prohibited here, 20% of parliament deputies are women). Sharia law plays an insignificant role, the entire intelligentsia knows French, European culture is close to it, the Internet is widely used, which functions freely in the country, and ties with Europe and the United States are stable. The Tunisian economy was developing we ... Read more