Country Spotlight: Tunisia
Under the rule of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia had one of the most repressive governments in the world. In 2011, one of the fastest revolutions in history transformed the nation. Citizens demanded the ouster of the old government and the formation of a legitimate democracy that would fight corruption and help the economy. The internet and social networking tools were critical to the movement's sucess. Now, the people of Tunisia face new challenges, such as organizing elections and rebuilding the economy. This revolution inspired the wave of revolutions referred to as the "Arab Spring" because it showed that commited citizens using modern networking tools could oust even entrenched dictators.
Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali The ruler of Tunisia for 23 years, Ben Ali had agressively repressed activists. In 2011 however, he was incapable of halting protests despite media blackouts, partly due to the ability of protestors to use the internet effectively.
Fouad Mebazaa and Beji Caid el Sebsi The interim president and prime minister, this duo must prepare Tunisia for the elections in October. They face a variety of challenges and must be careful to avoid angering a nation that has just discovered how much power it has to change the government.
Mohamed Bouazizi A street vendor who sold fruit, Bouazizi had struggled for years from police oppression. On December 17, Bouazizi did not have enough money to bribe a policeman who was harassing him, and the policeman confiscated the scales he needed to weigh fruit. Bouazizi tried to go to an official, but was refused an audience. Less than an hour after his scale was stolen Bouazizi lit himself on fire and became a symbol of the struggles of living under Ben Ali's repressive regime.
#Sidibouzid The twitter hashtag used to refer to and organize the protests. The name refers to the city in which Mohamed Bouazizi lit himself on fire.
SBZ news Another prominent twitter account run by a group of 15 activists.
Timeline of the Tunisian Revolution
December 17 2010 Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor, sets himself on fire. This act of protest sparks the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia.
December 24 2010 Police fire on protestors in an attempt to repress them. Instead, their actions have the opposite effect and provoke more protests.
January 11 2010 Protesting spreads to Tunis, the capital.
January 14 2011 President Ben Ali resigns and flees to Saudi Arabia.
March 9 2011 Ben Ali's former party, Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD), is disolved.
June 8 2011 Elections for a new government are postponed until October 23.