Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Charges dropped against Tunisian policewoman

Months ago a simple event, a common place event even, led to a series of world historic uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa. A Tunisian fruit vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, was humiliated by a policewoman. Not only did she confiscate his wares, because he supposedly did not have a permit, she also slapped him.

For Bouazizi this was not the first time the police had stopped him earning a living, nor the first time they had treated him like dirt. This time would be the last time though because Bouazizi had had enough. He took himself to the local municipal office in his small provincial town and set himself on fire. Three weeks later he died from his terrible injuries.

This extraordinary act of immolation from a man who could simply not cope any more led to snowballing protests against police corruption, unemployment, poverty and the state. So powerful did that movement become that the President himself fled the country in fear. The fruit seller took down the dictator.

Bouazizi's family had put in a complaint against the policewoman who's casual acts set in chain these vents but, according to Al Jazeera, they have now dropped the charges as "a gesture of tolerance and an effort to heal wounds suffered in Tunisia's upheaval".

It's a generous act aimed at helping the country move forwards and one that should command great respect. His family did not choose to be at the centre of a revolution but it is quiet acts like these that can help construct a better Tunisia.

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