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If Bouazizi reminds us of Jan Palach

revolts in Maghreb and the memory of Communism

The Tunisian flag colors

The Tunisian flag colors

Last December Mohammed Bouazizi set himself alight in the capital of Tunisia unleashing the Jasmin Revolution, as it is called from the name of the national flower. Six more men immolated themselves in the recent weeks in Egypt, Mauritania and Algeria.

It is impossible, writes Antonio Ferrari in the Corriere della Sera, "not to see the similarities between Bouazizi and another hero, Czechoslovakian Jan Palach. Palach, at the end of the Sixties, turned himself into a human torch in St. Venceslas square in Prague to cry his opposition to the Soviet invader. But there is also another picture: the one of president-dictator Ben Ali on his runaway, which reminds the one of Romania’s Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989".

So far, continues the journalist, "we witness the victory of the mass of Arab youngsters who weakened the power day by day through the Internet and their blogs ". The new Tunisian President Ghannouchi abolished the Ministry of Information Ben Ali who used to intimidate the media and is about forming a government of national unity.

The future though is uncertain: the ex dictator receives the solidarity of many Arab brothers, among whom colonel Khadafi who blames Wikileaks for the unrest. Many people are still nostalgic of Ben Ali’s rule and there are many fundamentalist groups such as in Algeria. "The democratic force of globalization " has yet to ensure a lasting freedom.

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17 January 2011

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