Monday, March 28, 2011

Revolutions of Hope in the Middle East

Mohammed Bouazizi, the man who
started a revolution.
The revolution that has swept across the Middle East, inciting people to protest and fight for freedom has already ousted long-standing corrupt leaders from their comfortable ruling seats. This wave of uprising began unexpectedly in a small Tunisia town when one young man had had enough.

A 26-year old fruit vendor named Mohammed Bouazizi was in the middle of a busy day when a female government official walked up to him, slapped him across the face and confiscated his fruit scale. She publicly scolded him for doing business without a valid license, something that only a few vendors in the whole town actually possessed. Frustrated and embarrassed, he knew he would have to pay a hefty bribe to retrieve the item and sell his fruit, all so he could make $10 a day to help his sisters go to college. That day, December 17, 2010, he decided he would not take it any more. Not allowed by the government to formally protest, he ran to the front of the government building yelling that ye wanted his scale back. He screamed, "How do you expect me to make a living?" then he doused himself in gasoline and lit a match.

Bouazizi barely survived the incident, but his actions were enough to start a revolution.  A few weeks later, wrapped in bandages, lying in a coma in the hospital, Bouazizi passed away, totally unaware that his single act of rebellion had started a revolution that sent the long-time corrupt dictator Ben Ali, running and hiding like a little child.
The revolution in Tunisia started small, but quickly gained momentum when videos of citizens being shot and beaten by police officers, under the command of Ben Ali, were posted on Facebook. These images, of real people, being killed for standing up for themselves incited a country-wide revolution. In no time at all, Ben Ali left the country and went into hiding.

The slap that infuriated a young man to act started a full scale rebellion that has spread throughout the Middle East. Since then, citizens in several other Middle Eastern countries have raised up to fight for their rights. Young people no longer blind to the freedoms enjoyed by people throughout the western world, are now using social media to spread their cause and fight for the rights they demand.

The Middle Eastern world is clearly at a turning point. With access to technology and social media, the eyes of all are being opened, and they are deciding they will no longer be bystanders to the violence, hate and corruption. They have left their homes and taken to the streets with the HOPE that this is THEIR TIME to fight and win their liberty!

Never have in history have we, the people, been able to watch right before our eyes and see as the world changes so quickly. To my brothers and sisters fighting for their rights, I say, "Be strong and of good courage. Go forward and fight, for the future of millions depends on you!"

What do you think about the revolutions going on around the world? What would you say to your fellow men fighting for their lives and freedom? How does their courage give you hope?

(Facts from the 60 Minutes report about the revolutions in the Middle East, titled, "How a Slap Sparked a Tunisian Revolution"

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