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date: 08 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

On December 17, 2010, 26-year-old Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire in a spectacular act of despair that triggered the “Arab Spring,” the initial results of which continue to reverberate throughout the Middle East and the wider world. His act of defiance, and the reactions to it, led to the ouster of Tunisia’s dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (ruled 1987-2011), and, once the revolt had spread to Egypt, of Hosni Mubarak (ruled 1981–2011). While this article profiles Bouazizi, and the confrontation with a policewoman that led to his action, at greater length than most portraits, it also connects the street vendor with the media-savvy young leaders of the revolt in Tahrir Square that brought down Mubarak.

Marc Fisher, “In Tunisia, Act of One Fruit Vendor Unleashes Wave of Revolution through Arab World,” Washington Post, March 26, 2011, available online at

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