It is the time of the year that America celebrates its revolution and it is good that we are still in the business of revolution. We have our very talented President at delivering speeches around the world about “change“; who is also Muslim looking and Muslim name sounding sharing his speeches . But more importantly we have our very own very successful American company called Facebook the has been the communication tool infinitely more instrumental in spreading freedom around the world especially in the Middle East.
All my life every day as I watched the news reports the only thing about the Middle East was the constant struggles and wars and senseless bombings between the Israelis and the Muslims over land and religious rights. Lately, the reports have been about the struggles of Middle Eastern countries overthrowing their greedy dictators. There is so much corruption in these countries that there was no accurate and true news reporting.
Facebook was the messenger, the Paul Revere that solved the problem in that the people became the reporters and friending was easy and posting videos was even easier and the youth of the Middle East shared all the reports of greed and corruption. Facebook was the confederate soldiers against the rulers. For example, the story of Tunisia and their revolution against their greedy dictator. A small country that does not have oil wealth or any reason for outside help in their revolution.
It all started with a 26 year old fruit vender in a small town in Tunisia. Mohamed Bouazizi got very tired by being bullied and humiliated by the corrupt regime that he stood in the middle of a street, doused himself with gasoline and lit a match. He has died from his self inflicted injuries and is now considered the torch that ignited the revolution that spread throughout that country that overthrew its dictator.
The wave of revolution that has swept throughout the Middle East started with this tiny country called Tunisia. It is an unlikely place for history to be made because it is the smallest country in North Africa. No one cares much because it has no oil and not much of an Army. Traditionally it has always been a place of tranquility in that part of the world. A place known for its peaches, couscous and its wonderful weather.
The problem is that for 23 years Tunisia was ruled by a corrupt and ruthless dictator named Ben Ali who filled his prisons with anyone who spoke against him. No freedom of speech there. This past January, he left the country at the age of 75 with his youthfully died hair quickly. Why? Because of a popular Facebook driven uprising sparked by a fruit vendor. Yes, a human firecracker.
Seedie Biusie, a town of 40,000 people is rarely even mentioned in the Tunisian guidebooks, tourists don’t usually go there. On Friday morning, December 17, the fruit vender was selling as he did every day to support his family. A municipal official took his scale and demanded a bribe which happened many times before but this time he got angry.
He complained, got slapped by the official demanding the bribe, went to the government office wanting his scale back. They wouldn’t let him in to get his scale back. Outraged he shouted “how am I supposed to make a living” and torched himself . His Mother said he wasn’t political in any way. He just wanted to continue making his $10 a day.
It was illegal to demonstrate in Tunisia but hundreds came to protest . Nothing like this has ever happened in the Dictator’s regime ever. The anger spread to other towns who were fed up with unemployment and poverty. The dictator ordered the police to beat and shoot its citizens in a country where no one owns any weapons. Even common criminals don’t own guns.
Hundreds of protestors were killed, the news reports said nothing. However, the people posted videos of people being shot in the head and much brutality from the police on Facebook. It became the only true form of communication to Tunisians. In the past 23 years if a political activist arrived they were quickly taken away and no one even knew they were there.
The dictators family took billions of dollars from the country. No business survived without giving bribes to the family. The Facebook messages were received and tens of thousands of mostly young people took back their country. Yes, Revolutions are still happening in the American style now with American technology. Happy July, 4th!