Just another WordPress.com site

Posts tagged ‘Tunisia’

The fruit seller who threw down the dictators

Mohammed Bouazizi or Basboosaas his friends called him was a poor fruit seller who had been working since he was 10 year old. he was only 3 years old when his father passed away and the little he earned was used to keep his mother, uncle and 6 siblings alive. He was used to being harassed by the local police for quite sometime but he would continue working with his handcart where he stashed vegetables and fruits. But this would come to an end December 17, 2010.

The female policeofficer, Faida Hamdi confiscated his handcart the day after he had borrowed money to buy more vegetables. Besides taking away his only income, the police officers had cussed him out in public, beaten him and called his late father bad names.

The shame, frsutration, desperation and humiliation had become too much for the 26 year old boy. He doused himself in petrol and set fire. And with him a whole region burnt down.

His suicide sparked the frustration the Tunisian people had felt for a long time and using Facebook and Al Jazeera, they spread the story about the young fruit seller. The Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine fled the country January 14th after ruling for 23 years.  Nobody had anticipated that his suicide would break down the dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and bring unrest to Syira, Jemen and Bahrain.

Mohammed, a simple young boy, work very hard to send his sisters to school and university earning only $5 a day. He was often forced to bribe the authorities more than he could earn to set up his handcart because they wouldn’t give him a permit.

Now, a picture of Bouazizi’s face has been set up to the mosaic tiled monument outside the municipal office where he earned his slap from a female worker when he went to complain about not being able to work as his income had been confiscated.

His friends and family remember him as a young man of simple taste, who had no time to follow football or music, and in time wanted to get married. His ambition was to buy the pickup truck for which he was saving, so he could drive to the market to buy his fruit, instead of having to walk.

His mother remembers how happy he was that morning and that he had never been suicidal, only frustrated over the town officials who would treat him unfair. “He would just sleep a few hours and go early to the market to push his handcart. When he had free time, he would stay with his family at home”, she said.

Outside Sidi Bouzid, where Mohammed used to live and work, about 12 miles along the main highway, there is a dirt road signposted for Sidi Salah. The cemetery is a little way beyond the village among some few trees and a line of ochre hills. Bouazizi’s grave is a grey concrete block with two pretty yellow bowls set in it, filled with water.

 

The end of the cleptocrate woman

Two days before the resignation, Leila ben Ali transferred 400 million euro to Dubai, besides this she also demanded that 1 1/2 tonn gold woud be flown out of the country. When the sentralbank didnt show any effort to accept this demand, she nagged on her husband until he transferred gold worth 45 million euro with just making one phone call. She would command her prostate cancer husband to do anything that she wanted but didnt understand that this would hit them in the face one day. January 14th 2011, the hated family and one servant was escorted to the runway where a Boeing 737 was waiting for them. The plane taking off showed that it was the end for the cleptocrate Leila Ben Ali who had gone from being a hairdresser to First lady. She was dissolved in tears as the desire and plans of being the first woman to take over power was destroyed.

In went from bad to worst in the plane. In the airspace somewhere between Libya and Egypt, the pilotes got order to land in Dschidda in the very religious Saudi Arabia, because it was here the family had got permit to stay. this didnt suit the former hairdresser well as she had never in her life worn hijab and never turned down a drink. Women in Saudi Arabi have to cover their hair and all alcohol is strictly forbidden.

Leila was born as Trabelsi and into poverty in July 20th 1957. She married just 18 years old with a newspaper dealer but the marriage lasted only for 3 years. The young and sexy woman had bigger plans for herself. She managed to catch then security minister Ben Ali and when he took over power in 1987 in a coup, the poor girl had become first lady. And she enjoyed the power as she treated the ministers as lackeys and reigned as a queen. First in the shadow of her husband, then in front of him leaving him in the shadow. She gave important and prominent positions to her relatives and plundered Tunisia for its money.

In the days before the escape, she worked hard to move and values out of the country and managed to buy an apartment near the triumphal arch in Paris for the safety of his son Mohammed’s name.
It is strange how a woman who was born into poverty could be so blinded by greed that it marked both her and her husbands end. She should have understood her people’s situation and have empathy with the needy, but instead they chose to look the other way and enjoy the power and wealth. The Ben Ali’s would have gone far with the 400 million euro they posessed, and she could at least have opened schools, orphanages and shelter for women and girls who had been victims of violence and abuse. Then at least she would have left with her dignity and self respect instead of shame.

Dictators of Africa – Part 6

Hissène Habré – Chad – 1982–1990

Chairman of the Council of State 1982; President of Chad 1982-1990. Gained power in a coup; abolished post of Prime Minister; executed opposition leaders.

Thomas Sankara – Burkina Faso – 1983–1987

President of Upper Volta 1983-1984; President of Burkina Faso 1984-1987. Gained power in coup. Led military regime. Overthrown and killed in coup.

Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya – Mauritania – 1984–2005

Deposed the military head of state, Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla, on December 1984 and declared himself Chairman of the Military Committee for National Salvation. Deposed by Ely Ould Mohamed Vall in a bloodless coup d’état.

Ibrahim Babangida – Nigeria – 1985–1993

Annulled the most free and fair presidential election in the history of Nigeria, leading to the death of the presidential candidate Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali – Tunisia – 1987–2011

President of Tunisia. Although he announced political pluralism in 1992, his Democratic Constitutional Rally (formerly Neo-Destour party) continues to dominate the national politics and there is no genuine open political debate. In 1999, although two unknown alternative candidates were permitted for the first time to stand in the presidential elections, Ben Ali was re-elected with 99.66% of the vote. A controversial constitutional referendum in 2002 allowed him to seek re-election and contemplate the possibility of remaining in office until 2014. On October 24, 2004, he was again re-elected, officially taking 94.48% of the vote. Certain books, periodicals and internet sites are banned or blocked. The National Television frequently show his actions during a week, but often the President only appears in passing on television. Removed from office by a popular uprising in January 2011.

Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir – Sudan – 1989–present

President of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation 1989-1993; President of Sudan 1993–present. Took power in a military coup and increasingly centralized power into him. Widely believed to be implicated in the Darfur Janjaweed pogroms.

Idriss Déby – Chad – 1990–present

Head of State 1990-1991; President of Chad 1991 to date. Gained power in a coup; continues to suppress opposition and press.

Sani Abacha – Nigeria – 1993–1998

Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council 1993-1998. Seized power in a coup; persecuted opposition; never stood for election. Jailed Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, the presumed winner of the annulled 1993 presidential election; presided over execution of activist Ken Saro-Wiwa.


 

Tag Cloud