What (who) started the Middle East Domino Reaction?

March 2, 2011


“Discontent is the first necessity of progress.”-Thomas Edison

Mohamed Bouaziz. This is a name that few know, but his actions caused a butterfly effect throughout the world that will be felt for decades to come. Bouaziz was a 26-year-old unemployed college graduate who set himself ablaze in Tunisia on December 17, 2010.

A few weeks later, Tunisia had gone through an evolution and installed a new government. Egyptians soon after marched in the streets and removed their totalitarian leader. Now the Libyans are at the Gaddafi’s doorstep, about to reach freedom, from over 35 years of oppresion. The governments in countries like Yemen, Jordan, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Iran are all extremely nervous and have gone through great effort to appease their populace through social welfare programs.

Mohamed Bouaziz was not why it happened or how it was organized, but he was how it began. The gunpowder of high unemployment and totalitarian oppression has lain inert for the past several decades. The social media tools have been available for the past several years, yet the spark was the not there. It was Bouaziz who set the firestorm across the Middle East, in a rather foreshadowing manner.

The message in the main stream media has been focused on the superficial details of the revolutions and very little in depth analysis. Questions like what types of government will we see in 5-10 years, how will unemployment be solved, what will the role of religion play in government, how will be women treated in the new civil society? Whom among the media giants have talked about what this means when this revolution will reach countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran or how it will be responded to ? The media does have the job of informing the public of current events, but they have a duty to provide a deeper understanding of the world to its audience.

One man started a series of revolutions that have no end in sight. It was not his goal, but nonetheless, much of the demonstrations, riots, and cries for liberty can be traced to his singular action. Most likely his name and act of defiance and anguish will be lost in the sands of time, but for now we should remember the name of Mohamed Bouaziz who showed to the world that one man’s actions can change the world in positive ways.

-“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”-Thomas Edison

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