January 22, 2011

When Faida Hamdy slapped Mohamed Bouazizi in the face and set off a revolution.

What happened in Tunisia:
Faida Hamdy, a 45-year-old municipal inspector in Sidi Bouzid, a police officer’s daughter, was single, had a “strong personality” and an unblemished record, her supervisor said. She inspected buildings, investigated noise complaints and fined vendors like Mr. Bouazizi, whose itinerant trade may or may not have been legal; no one seems to know.

On the morning of Dec. 17, when other vendors say Ms. Hamdy tried to confiscate Mr. Bouazizi’s fruit, and then slapped him in the face for trying to yank back his apples, he became the hero — now the martyred hero — and she became the villain in a remarkable swirl of events in which Tunisians have risen up to topple a 23-year dictatorship and march on, demanding radical change in their government.

The revolution has rippled beyond Tunisia, shaking other authoritarian Arab states, whose frustrated young people are often written off as complacent when faced with stifling bureaucracy and an impenetrable and intimidating security apparatus. That assumption was badly shaken with Mr. Bouazizi’s reaction to his slap...
So a woman humiliated a man...

ADDED: Eve gave Adam an apple, and Hamdi took away Bouazizi's apples. In Eden, the man took the apple from the woman, and we know what happened. In Tunisia, the man tried "to yank back his apples." So much meaning lies in the giving and taking of apples between a man and a woman.

86 comments:

JAL said...

Or:
A woman abused the authority of her position by assaulting a citizen.

The Drill SGT said...

So a woman humiliated a man...

Think that's going to turn out well for Feminists?

vet66 said...

The other Arab countries are treating this incident as the "Slap heard 'round the world." Revolutions have been ignited on far less than a woman humiliating a man.

Watch for the sudden largesse from Arab rulers as they throw billions at the citizens to keep them under control. It may work and it may not. In any case, the ruling establishments are scared for good reason.

The Chinese are worried about the billion man march with scythes on their Forbidden City. Good thing Olbermann is gone or he would have blamed the revolutions on indigent Arab Tea Partiers on a global scale.

William said...

All politics are sexual. When many in the third world complain about the imposition of western values, they are complaining about the emancipation of women.

Pogo said...

"So a woman humiliated a man..."

Now I finally understand the Palinoid left. Their feminism is just for show.

D'ja see WaPo and Dana Milbank are embargoing any news with Palin in it? 'La la la ...can't heeaaarr youuuu'.

traditionalguy said...

Most Revolutions have been "sparked" by a shortage of food leading to a get to the head of the line desire that will cause men to literally kill to survive. The 60 year Pax Americana has been made possible by world wide distributions of food. So look for those that want food shortages created from energy restrictions, ethanol grabs and Gaia beliefs doubling down on Malthus. Those are the Revolutionaries planning to use a Crisis to grab all authority faster than a Venezuelan second.

pst314 said...

In the article, one Arab describes rampant corruption and oppression as "it's as if we've been colonized."

No, Einstein, you Arabs did this to yourselves. The corruption and oppression, the cruelty and callousness, they're all your fault. You can't blame anybody else but yourselves. In fact, you were far better off when you were colonized by those hated Europeans.

traditionalguy said...

pst314...Outside of a few Sheiks in Mecca, all the Islamic world is a conquered colony. That was Mohammed's trick. Rescuing all people in the from a life without legalism over their lives by capturing them. By the way, have you been captured yet so that you have to prostrate yourself to Mohammed's rules 5 times a day?

Oligonicella said...

"So a woman humiliated a man..."

And?

Sixty Grit said...

Nothing more than a muzzie man getting mad at an uppity woman. The fact that people died - oh well, just more eggs for the oppressor's omelet.

I hear Dizzy Gillespie in the background.

WV: igniza - that event igniza revolution.

edutcher said...

"So a woman humiliated a man..."

You don't do that in the Islamic world.

This has been brewing since the end of the Ottoman empire. The tribal-based politics - and the corruption that goes with it - have kept most of the states in the back alley of the world. The leadership was able to keep the people occupied by saying, "No, no, look at the Jews oppressing our Palestinian brothers".

Now, it would appear, they are finally waking up.

The irony that it was over a man's business is even more delightful. Most revolutions that have succeeded in the last two and a half centuries have been the doing of the middle class. Looks like it's about to happen again.

I agree with vet66 on the fact that the boys in the Forbidden City are scared this will happen there. Red China is doing the same thing Hitler did (economically) and the bubble is getting ready to pop. That Red China will have an overabundance of young males without women only adds fuel to the potential fire.

lucid said...

Oh, Ann. Your take on this is actually offensive, and your obsession with claiming victimhood for women makes you miss the point.

It is MUCH, MUCH more humiliating and much more of an incitement to violence for a man to slap a man. If you read the story, you will note that the real victim here was twice beaten, certainly by men, beore he finally immolated himself.

In Western culture, at least, women often slap men with impunity. Just look at the movies and popular culture, or, very likely, consult those actual occasions you personally know about.

Men are much more often the victims of violence than are women.

Women, in fact, seem to have a special protection in regard to violence, which is why we get so upset when the special protection is transgressed.

somefeller said...

Maybe Bouazizi was sexist in his attitudes and that partially informed his actions. If so, so what? Lots of good results arise from people who have mixed motives. I'd imagine many if not most of the soldiers fighting for the Union didn't care much about emancipation, and if they did, some supported it as a prelude for repatriation, not equality. Doesn't matter. Either way, the slaves were freed and the Union preserved.

It's too early to judge whether the revolution in Tunisia will lead to a better future in that country. There's no shortage of revolutions that led to worse forms of oppression after all. But if nothing else, Bouazizi inspired thousands if not millions of his fellow Tunisians to stand up and overthrow their oppressor. That's a good thing, and whether or not he'd pass a test in a Women's Studies class is irrelevant.

traditionalguy said...

The event was not about a woman. It was about the Police confiscating his means to survive. See that and you will see why Nepolitano and friends are gearing up for mass arrests of Americans for attacking the Obama created Agencies and czars who are removing their means to survive. Energy market shutdowns based on faked CO2 fears means poverty. When all but a few Rulers like Gore have been made destitute, then we might become Tea Party Revolutionaries quicker than the Old folks fought the removal of their health care by death panels.

Richard Dolan said...

An altercation like this between a cop and a citizen -- in NYC, 'code enforcement', as this kind of policing is called, generates them with regularity -- is a commonplace event in most societies. When it can be the spark for a revolution, civil society was already long dead. At that point it's just a question of how effective the repressive forces of the security apparatus can be. As it happens, they can be quite efficient at repression for a long period. Until, of course, they suddenly stop being effective, for many and varied reasons.

That the reasons can be so varied makes it useless to extrapolate from this to China, Iran, NKorea or elsewhere. But the underlying reality -- it's almost a political law of entropy -- is that repression can't go on for ever. Doesn't mean that it will be replaced with something better, but it's sure to be replaced by something different.

Bender said...

A "martyr"???

Hardly. Whether or not one includes the self-immolation.

Here is what a real martyr in Tunisia looks like.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"So a woman humiliated a man..."

And they weren't even married.

The Crack Emcee said...

Leave it to feminism for Ann to miss the point, every time.

Amazing - all of it.

Ann Althouse said...

"Leave it to feminism for Ann to miss the point, every time."

Leave it to the penis-possessors to assume that there is always only one point.

lucid said...

Ann Althouse wrote:
"Leave it to the penis-possessors to assume that there is always only one point."

Uh, I think you are evading responsibility for the clear implication of what you originally wrote.

Lisa said...

This may have been about a government official who overstepped her bounds.

But on the Muslim street, this will read as a WOMAN who overstepped her bounds as much as a government official.

My prediction: Muslim leaders will use this as an excuse to tighten down on women's freedom, clothing, behavior and opportunities blaming it her gender, not her job. That's what they do... find a group to scapegoat.

We will see if it works again.

Freeman Hunt said...

He set himself on fire?

What is the deal over there? Are people living within a real life version of The Trial? Nothing they do makes sense.

Also, why is there so much copy in the article devoted to whether or not the guy was a college graduate? What difference would that make?

somefeller said...

Leave it to the penis-possessors to assume that there is always only one point.

I certainly didn't say there is only one point. In fact, I stated as much in my comment. What I am also saying is that the point you are focusing on is largely irrelevant to the larger issue. It's akin to someone responding to a discussion of Winston Churchill's leadership skills by saying "but he drank too much!" Well, yeah. So what?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Neglected by successive central governments, bereft of factories, seized with corruption and rife with nepotism, Sidi Bouzid and the small towns surrounding it are filled with idle young men, jobless, underemployed or just plain poor.

Some of them pass the time at cafes playing a card game called rami. Others get drunk on the moonshine they buy at cigarette stands and stumble around Sidi Bouzid’s town center, ...


Except for being in Tunisia and being Muslims, this could be an apt description of Detroit or any other city destroyed by liberal policies.

We shouldn't be so smug.

Jon said...

Althouse said: "Eve gave Adam an apple"

Actually, Genesis just says it was a fruit. It could have been an orange, or even a banana. Many early rabbis thought it was a fig. The idea that it was an apple was popularized by Milton.

Ann Althouse said...

"What I am also saying is that the point you are focusing on is largely irrelevant to the larger issue."

I can focus on any aspect of an issue I choose. I often like to come around at a different angle.

I am offering for contemplation something that you might not have thought about before, which is certainly at least implicit in the linked article, that this little incident worked as the tipping point, in part, because the govt official enforcing the rules against the man, was a woman and she slapped the man in the face. That had a big, inflammatory impact, making people feel very strongly that they were being abused. It certainly had a big impact on Bouazizi. What pushed him over the line? He set himself on fire, which is not that uncommon a form of protest. I'm suggesting that the fact that the government official was a woman and that she slapped the man was catalytic.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

He set himself on fire, which is not that uncommon a form of protest.

However, used generally only one time per protestor. So while spectacular, not all that effective in the long run.

I'm suggesting that the fact that the government official was a woman and that she slapped the man was catalytic.


Very likely it was a more catalytic event that if it had been a man given the culture in Tunisia.

Methadras said...

I'll bet you that Steve Jobs was behind this.

The Drill SGT said...

I'm suggesting that the fact that the government official was a woman and that she slapped the man was catalytic.

YOu don't think that perhaps the beating from the 2 male officals who took his scale and therefore put him out of business (and left his family to starve) was more impactful?

Or the beating he got at the municipal building from men or the refusal of an audience from the Male boss didn't impact his decision?

Cedarford said...

vet66 - The Chinese are worried about the billion man march with scythes on their Forbidden City

No, they are not. Popular approval of the ChiCom government as doing a "great" or "very good" job is at 67%, the highest in the world of any country polled in 2009.
10% annual growth rate for 18 years as they destroy jobs and industries here and in other countries with full connivance of those nations Globalist Elites - does that.

Several hundred million Chinese have had their standards of living at least tripled in those 18 years.

The "dissidents" so beloved by the West are a tiny fringe in a sea of "China is #1, we own you all" nationalists.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm not purporting to be able to know what was most "impactful." I'm analyzing the elements of an iconic event. Totalitarian govts beating up citizens... when does that touch off a revolution?

The Drill SGT said...

Totalitarian govts beating up citizens... when does that touch off a revolution?

I think the more important issue is the nature of the new regime. Will it be one that supports a mre open and free society or one that purports to be an anti-corruption traditional values one (e.g. Islamist)

I think that this will turn out to badly for women in Tunisia

Freeman Hunt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

I think that this will turn out to badly for women in Tunisia

Yes. If it's the lady slap that set this off, I'd imagine the men are looking to get the women wrapped in burkas.

Freeman Hunt said...

There should be a campaign called A Gun for Every Woman with the mission of giving a gun to every woman living in an Islamic country.

Cedarford said...

edutcher - "I agree with vet66 on the fact that the boys in the Forbidden City are scared this will happen there. Red China is doing the same thing Hitler did (economically) and the bubble is getting ready to pop."

It is one thing to see an obvious bubble when Warren Buffet says he can't see how Pets.com is worth more than 3M. Or how mansions for illegal immigrants with easy loan money and subdentured bundled default derivatives can be anything but a house of cards.
But steel plants, 180,000 factories once in the West making everything from TVs to Levis to lightbulbs to cheap dogfood is anything but solid - not a bubble.

Hitler's economy was quite real, not a bubble, industrial output doubled in his time pre-WWII.

If the Chinese lose overseas markets, they can turn to a huge domestic market busting with individual savings and deferred consumer need. We in turn lose the loaner money needed to keep California running with copious government staffing, money to fund Our Heroes in the military doing nation-building adventures, and paying out for free drugs and Medicare.

Another bubble will pop, but it won't be in China. It will be in the lands that gave China the investment money, technology, and means of production that once resided in those lands and came to depend on China loans and cheap China stuff for the necessities of life.

It will get worse in America, and the Ruling Elites of both Parties are to blame.

Think of the average American middle classer as a Tunisian street vendor. Americans who got similarly slapped by a Harvard-educated lawyer bitch from Wall Street and put out of work and wealth seized -as DC power brokers laughed - and can't believe it happened as another slap is on the way.

The Tea Party is just the start.

lucid said...

Ann Althouse wrote:
"this little incident worked as the tipping point, in part, because the govt official enforcing the rules against the man, was a woman and she slapped the man in the face."

This is silly, overstretched and e presumptuous point, dictated more by the narcissistic entitlement of the feminist pose than by any reasonable reading of the facts.

Not much happened at the point of the slap. However, subsequently there was:
--a confiscation of his scale and means of living;
--a first beating;
--a second refusal to return his scale;
--a second beating, accompanied by another refusal to return his means of earning a living;
--a suicide by self-immolation.

And what you choose to emphasize is that he was slapped by a woman? As though he had some feminist duty not to be offended by the slap because it came from a woman?

To create a presumption that the poor man victimized this officious and assaulting woman (by his sexist attitude), is unsupported by any facts and displays a degree of feminine egocentricity and entitlement that almost defies belief.

Freeman Hunt said...

Yes, how totally insane of Althouse to think that men in an Islamic country where Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise might have problems with women and be especially offended by being accosted by a woman.

The Crack Emcee said...

lucid,

I think you are evading responsibility for the clear implication of what you originally wrote.

Ann does that often - Meade as well - which caused me, once, to say they belong together.

As far as what we "penis-possessors" do, I was hanging out with some guys last night - fathers - and the conversation turned to their families. Every one of them described how they had to settle some dispute or disagreement the women in their lives we involved in - from the girls to the women. All of the females were obviously in the wrong, but "didn't want to be told what to do" by anyone else - until a "penis-possessor" they respected stepped in and set them straight.

I felt like I was listening to the history of mankind in their stories.

And BTW - because someone will surely think otherwise - they weren't telling the stories for my benefit, or to say how effed up women were, or anything. They were just talking, as men do, when in a space where they can share notes.

deborah said...

" So much meaning lies in the giving and taking of apples between a man and a woman."

So true.

Freeman Hunt said...

One can juggle two thoughts at once:

(1) The woman acted like a tyrant and operates within a corrupt government bureaucracy.

AND

(2) Corrupt governments habitually trample on citizens' rights. Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise in Tunisia. Perhaps being insulted by a woman rose above the usual bureaucratic insults because Islamic fundamentalism includes a strange, irrational hatred of women who aren't oppressed.

The Crack Emcee said...

Freeman,

Yes, how totally insane of Althouse to think that men in an Islamic country where Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise might have problems with women and be especially offended by being accosted by a woman.

I caught that. But the idea more was going on was just as - if not more - obvious to the rest of us. Ann doesn't see how her feminism (or "racial awareness") colors her views, sometimes leading her, automatically, to the wrong conclusions. A lot of people think I do that ("Crack thinks everything's NewAge") no matter how many times I say I don't assume things. (Ann, projecting: "Leave it to the penis-possessors to assume,...") It's just an unwillingness to see things for what they are, and a demand - a troubling, worthless, useless demand - that she, too, can do whatever she wants, rather than engaging the world realistically.

Not every man who has a conflict with a woman - even in the Middle East, I figure - is out to get women, but IS willing to stand up for himself - even if the aggressor is a woman. If they ARE men, anyway. And women can be - and, in the case of feminists, are - overly-primed aggressors, deserving no special treatment:

Equality says they, too, can and should be smacked down as easily as any man.

Freeman Hunt said...

Crack, standing up for himself would be a normal reaction, but he set himself on fire! I think that indicates extreme offense. Also the fact that this episode is setting off a revolution instead of any other episode of corrupt government intrusion.

There seems to be something especially galling to people there about the offender being a woman.

Oligonicella said...

Freeman, if it was so galling, why no revolution until *after* lucid's list of further impositions? It if was so damned galling, why no violent reaction then and there?

Freeman Hunt said...

Everything lucid listed happened right after the slap.

Freeman Hunt said...

In a series of interviews, the other fruit vendors, officials and family members described the seemingly routine confrontation that had set off a revolution. They said that Mr. Bouazizi, embarrassed and angry, had wrestled with Ms. Hamdy and was beaten by two of her colleagues, who also took his electronic scale. He walked a few blocks to the municipal building, demanded his property, and was beaten again, they said. Then he walked to the governor’s office, demanded an audience and was refused.

“She humiliated him,” said his sister, Samia Bouazizi. “Everyone was watching.”

Sometime around noon, in the two-lane street in front of the governor’s high gate, the vendor drenched himself in paint thinner then lit himself on fire.


It centers on the humiliation by a woman.

The Crack Emcee said...

Freeman,

I agree with Oligonicella. You're leaping to the conclusion to explain/defend what you think happened at the beginning. Kind of like when people say I can't mention Nazis in my dissection of NewAge because the Nazis killed the Jews. Not in 1933 they weren't, but they were worshipping "gods" and consulting "psychics" and the rest that led to the killing.

Not to mention, there haven't been any anti-women protests from this - people are pissed off about an injustice. They toppled the government, not demand it put all the women in burkas.

G Joubert said...

Your average non-Muslim westerner cannot comprehend the full dynamics of this incident. Leastways I can't.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Also the fact that this episode is setting off a revolution instead of any other episode of corrupt government intrusion.

There seems to be something especially galling to people there about the offender being a woman.


Sometimes it is just one small thing heaped upon a multitude of wrongs that will set people off. The 'straw that breaks the camel's back'.

The list of wrongs and oppression that this particular man felt, was probably galling others as well.

To top it off that 'bully' who started the incident was a woman in a Muslim world where women are not even supposed to be seen, much less heard from or publically slap a man, probably was the 'last straw'.

We cannot measure other culture's reactions to an incident in the same way as we would react ourselves. It doesn't mean that we have to accept or condone their actions vis-a-vis women or anything else. We need to understand where they are coming from (so to speak) if we are ever going to be able to deal with these types of people or to WIN in negotiations with them.

Freeman is right: in that setting yourself on fire over such an incident is inconceivable in our society, however......it isn't our society.

We also cannot use feminism as our Western society tries to define it in interpersonal or political actions in other countries as a rational for their reactions. Feminism is just as inconceivable to them as this guy setting himself on fire is to us.

We make the same mistake when trying to judge how people acted and thought in the past according to our modern standards. See: Huckleberry Finn and the "N" word.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Shorter DBQ: Context is everything.

Synova said...

The headline of the article emphasizes that the woman humiliated the man.

It sounds like more than that, though. She may have slapped him but others took (stole) his electronic scale and beat him. He *humbly* went to the police station to try to get his stuff back (pay for it?) and instead they beat him again and sent him away. No one would listen and he had no recourse. It was more than a man could bear, and he burned himself in a way that was most certain to finally get some attention.

It wouldn't have done a thing unless a majority of people were nearly in the same place. Voiceless. Abused. At the mercy of "municipal inspectors" that came around regularly for protection money.

"Bilal Zaydi, 20, saw the vendor’s relatives and friends outside the governor’s office that afternoon, throwing coins at the gate. “Here is your bribe,” they yelled. Over the next day and half the protests grew and the police “started beating protesters, and firing gas,”"

Because throwing coins and yelling "Here is your bribe!" calls for beatings and gas.

The Crack Emcee said...

DBQ,

We make the same mistake when trying to judge how people acted and thought in the past according to our modern standards. See: Huckleberry Finn and the "N" word.

The invention of the phrase, "the n-word", is politically incorrect nonsense. It has no bearing on Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn, our past of slavery or how people saw blacks, or anything other than a new generation of the same people, who were trying to control others then, attempting to do so, again, now.

The tactics change, but the ends remain the same.

Synova said...

It's likely very important, overall, and to how things will play-out afterward, to whether or not Faida Hamdy's professional authority was reflected by the culture to include women who were private citizens... ie, if women in the community moved freely and dealt with men more or less normally in business, (such as is the case in Kurdistan*,) or if a single "professional" woman such as Faida Hamdy, was only possible in the context of the government.

(* Saddam apparently killed so many men in the Kurdish north of Iraq that women sometimes outnumber men in professional positions.)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Crack
The invention of the phrase, "the n-word", is politically incorrect nonsense

I know. But I don't want to have my comments erased because I used it to try to make a point.

Negro is the Spanish and Portugese word for the color black. From this innocent beginning to the N word that can only be uttered by some.

David said...

Humiliated by a woman? Join the club. We do tend to set ourselves up for it though.

The Crack Emcee said...

DBQ,

Negro is the Spanish and Portugese word for the color black. From this innocent beginning to the N word that can only be uttered by some.

Immature and embarrassing.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
virgil xenophon said...

Nice ode to Dizzy and his "A Night in Tunisia" sixty grit.

lucid said...

@Crack Emcee--

Yes, I also am very familiar with untangling some conflict a woman has created for herself and feels victimized and entitled within. There is one I am going to have to smooth over at work right now.

Women also tend to hold grudges much longer than men, who tend to get over conflicts with friends and associates more quickly.

The thing that drives me nuts about so much feminist special pleading is that it is special pleading disguised as a cry for justice. It is actually whining for special treatment rather than for equal treatment.

So, this woman physically assaults a man, and we are supposed to focus on how he might have reacted in the way he did because he was sexist rather than on the woman's role as an agent of an oppressive and abusive authority.

The other thing that so galls me about a lot of contemporary feminism is the narcissism and entitlement that underlies it and fuels it. Look at me! I'm a female victim! I deserve special sympathy and consideration.

For example, when you look at the data on wage disparity in more detail, women earn less because they work fewer continuous years, for fewer years, in less difficult and dangerous jobs.

You don't hear a lot of women demanding that they be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan in numbers equal to men, do you?

EnigmatiCore said...

They say Eve tempted Adam with an apple. Man, I ain't going for that. I know it was her pink Cadillac.

Godot said...

Carrots, onion rings and apples.

Oh my!

---

pst314 said...

"pst314...Outside of a few Sheiks in Mecca, all the Islamic world is a conquered colony."

Good to remind us of that.

Not sure what you mean by asking if I have been captured yet.

Florida said...

"I'm analyzing the elements of an iconic event. Totalitarian govts beating up citizens... when does that touch off a revolution?"

When?

When people get sick and fucking tired of being told by a bunch of petty tyrant government officials what to do, where to go, what to buy and how much it will cost you - that's when it leads to revolution.

Just ask Democrats ... who will get their due soon by acting just like a bunch of petty fucking tyrants - pushing Americans around at town hall meetings ordering people to buy shit.

In this case, the fact that the petty tyrant was "just a woman" was merely the straw which broke the camel's back.

Here you had a government official deciding who is, and who is not, allowed to sell apples.

The fact that she was a woman was the eye-opener. "Who is this woman to tell a man he cannot sell apples and slaps him when he tries?"

Suddenly, it all came into focus.

Here you had a man, trying hard to feed his family by selling his meager possessions - some mere apples - being prevented from doing so by a woman so overcome by her own sense of overarching power that she forgot her fucking place in this world.

And that place is not ordering men around.

Democrats would do well to take heed of what is occurring. Do Democrats think American men are going to be pushed around by a bunch of effeminate power-hungry douchebags on a continuing basis?

Or is it more likely that sooner or later, punches are going to be thrown?

Look, people will sit and take it up the ass only for so long before they rise up and smite their fucking oppressors.

If you want to see the future of America ... look to Tunisia, where people are mad as hell.

And they're not going to take it any more.

dick said...

Freeman

Self-immolation happened frequently in the ramp-up to the war in Vietnam. Many of the Buddhist monks set themselves on fire in the early days of Kennedy as a protest.

rhhardin said...

I will give my love an apple, Alfred Deller

Florida said...

"Many of the Buddhist monks set themselves on fire in the early days of Kennedy as a protest."

That's the difference between liberals and conservatives.

Conservatives do not solve world problems by lighting themselves on fire.

Because that's fucking stupid.

somefeller said...

That's the difference between liberals and conservatives. Conservatives do not solve world problems by lighting themselves on fire. Because that's fucking stupid.

Buddhist monks in Vietnam in the early 1960s weren't likely to be easily characterized as liberals or conservatives by American standards, of that time or now. But of course you don't know that. Because you're fucking stupid.

Now run along and help your parents get dinner ready and let the grown-ups continue their conversation.

somefeller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
somefeller said...

One can juggle two thoughts at once: (1) The woman acted like a tyrant and operates within a corrupt government bureaucracy. AND
(2) Corrupt governments habitually trample on citizens' rights. Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise in Tunisia. Perhaps being insulted by a woman rose above the usual bureaucratic insults because Islamic fundamentalism includes a strange, irrational hatred of women who aren't oppressed.


True, but focusing on whether or not Bouazizi did what he did because of sexism is focusing on a trivial and largely irrelevant point. It might make sense if the people who rose up in the streets of Tunisia were primarily calling for the removal of female officials from the bureaucracy. They weren't doing that.

The main point is that an Arab dictatorship was overthrown by popular unrest, which is no small thing. This revolution may not turn out well (there's plenty of revolutions that don't, especially in that part of the world), but it's the revolution that's the main story. Focusing on whether or not Bouazizi was primarily motivated by un-feminist attitudes is a type of Western solipsism.

MarkD said...

Meanwhile Afshan Azad pleads for her brother's release after he beat her for three hours and threatened to kill her because she dated a Hindu.

This in the more enlightened England.

Freeman Hunt said...

I think a lot of you are acting like this happened in a vacuum, but it didn't. Tunisia has been a relatively great Arab country for women, but Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise.

What sort of government will they have after the revolution? I hope it's not the kind that passes out burkas.

Freeman Hunt said...

Link

The Crack Emcee said...

Freeman,

One word:

"may"

Let's wait and see. That a Middle Eastern country ends up with some flavor of Islam isn't remarkable, but what flavor it has always is.

Synova said...

The thing about "good for women" is that if the country isn't good for men, then it's not good for anyone, not anyone at all.

When someone starts to go on about how terrible the West was for women some time in the past, not owning property or whatever, I tend to think that they must be deliberately ignoring the injustices that attended *all* people, certainly all people not currently and actively in power. And even being in power only worked so long as one could maintain it. Injustice under the law, inequality, and work that was likely as not to kill you outright or at least early was normal for everyone, and certainly for men.

If Tunisia was better than some for women, it doesn't follow that it was actually enlightened in any meaningful way. Not if a position in government was primarily a way to make good money while others scrambled for a little without the assurance that it was ever really theirs, should some official decide to shake them down.

Men and women, I believe, have similar needs for what we might call self-actualization, for a feeling of sovereignty in their own lives, to be the lords of their own little corner of creation. To be a real person. Yes, this is very much the notion of the individual, but I think that it holds even stronger as the individual relates to the community. Mr. Bouazizi's response to being shown publicly powerless, so that he didn't even have the ability to pretend, to save face, illuminates the lie that others tell themselves that they are something more than nothing.

And if it's a lie for the men, it is certainly also a lie for the women. We aren't separable. If someone can come along and take whatever they want to take simply because you are who you are, then no one is free.

People want order, and justice, and constancy... and it surprises me not at all that radical Islam is ever more popular in many areas. It's too bad. People want freedom and economic security and it surprises me not at all that socialism and communism are more popular than capitalism. And that's too bad.

What Bouazizi needed was for the local government to let him keep what he worked for, to make it safe and secure to work and build something and trust that no one would take it away. But neo-liberalism (what those in the US call market-capitalism) is a hard sell in poor regions when it isn't seen as the police and government protecting the little guy making a living, but only the fat cats.

And so is secularism a hard sell when the examples of secular governments are so profoundly dishonest and unjust.

Corky Boyd said...

I can't help but believe the example of Iraq's transition from a dictatorship to a democracy has and will affect those in repressive Arab countries.

that-xmas said...

Back to the article, this is always a sign of trouble: "Neglected by successive central governments, bereft of factories, seized with corruption and rife with nepotism, Sidi Bouzid and the small towns surrounding it are filled with idle young men, jobless, underemployed or just plain poor."

As a general rule, having a large number of men, ages 14 to 30, sitting around doing nothing is a sure way to have your government overthrown. *cough*France*cough*

Oligonicella said...

To presume his response was because a woman slapped him implies some knowledge that he would not have reacted the same way had a male government official struck him and the same series of events followed.

Erin said...

Ann isn't arguing with the outcome for the Tunisian people. She is reflecting on the catalyst and its significance. The systemic misogyny in the Arab world cannot be denied. And the second I heard that it was a woman humiliating a man, the self-immolation made more sense, squaring as it does with a sense of masculine honor that absolutely depends on the oppression of women. This has real and dire consequences in the world; it is not merely symbolic.
Why not engage with the dynamic, rather than try to strangle it in the crib? Is it so threatening to criticize the incredible animus towards women? Is it not helpful to recognize it? It's already out there -- Ann is articulating what people are thinking.

Tanmay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tanmay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tanmay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tanmay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vanessa said...

This is the most stupid blog post I have ever read, and I say that as a feminist.

Sure, the initial humiliation was caused by the gender of the aggressor (in a world where men are supposed to be more powerful) AMONG OTHER THINGS, but the resulting anger and decision to light himself on fire was not just because a female hit him. He lit himself on fire because he was not allowed to pay the fine for selling "illegally" (although I have not read an article that expressed certainty that you even have to have a license to sell from a cart), he had had to leave to support his family, he did not have bribe money to keep the police officers off his back, and his government refused to hear or help him.

Steve said...

Retards like Florida is why America is falling apart. Have fun rallying for your koch brothers and the republicans. When the revolution happens and the people demand fair pay and affordable health care, you can bitch on the internet all you want.

abeer ahmed said...

For the latest news visit us on cnn.com
http://whois.domaintasks.com/cnn.com

talc said...

No!!!
Its because this Faida Hamdy as Government official assaulted and humiliated this guy.
This guy did not pay her the bribes she wanted so she insulted him.
Don't make this a feminist cause...