Showing posts from January, 2011

A Spark

It is truly awe-inspiring to observe the events that are happening in North Africa right now. On December 17th last year, in Sidi Bouzid, a rural town in Tunisia, a street vendor named Tarek al-Tayyib Muhammad ibn Bouazizi was stripped of his means of making a living, beaten, and publicly humiliated by local municipal government officials for supposedly not having a license for his street cart. He went to the governor's office to file a complaint, but the governor refused to see him or hear his case. He then chose to set himself on fire in protest.

That one desperate act by an ordinary citizen in a rural community set in motion an ever-spiraling series of protests that would bring down the government of Tunisia that had been in power for 23 years, lead to protests in Khartoum and other cities in Sudan, and bring the 30 year old reign of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to the edge of the abyss.

That one spark of a match changed the course of history.

Indeed, one of the social networ…