Have you had a second to put down the so heavily redacted that they could double as a stack of Rorschach tests, Benghazi emails, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence dumped in your stocking on Christmas Eve?
If so, let’s start this week off right with a look back at the “start” of the Arab Spring.
The story of Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian fruit cart owner that felt so suffocated by Big Government that he set himself on fire, sparking the beginning of the end for President Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, didn’t exactly follow with how President Obama presented it during his May 2011, Middle East and North Africa speech.
“That story of self-determination began six months ago in Tunisia. On December 17th, a young vendor named Mohammed Bouazizi was devastated when a police officer confiscated his cart. This was not unique. It’s the same kind of humiliation that takes place every day in many parts of the world–the relentless tyranny of governments that deny their citizens dignity.”
Side note: No, at this point he didn’t burst out laughing at his own hypocrisy.
“Only this time, something different happened. After local officials refused to hear his complaints, this young man, who had never been particularly active in politics, went to the headquarters of the provincial government, doused himself in fuel, and lit himself on fire.”
The reality according to the police officer mentioned, whom isn’t a police officer at all, Faida Hamdy (sometimes spelled Hamdi) said back in 2012, “I have a grudge against your President (Obama). Barack Obama mentioned me in a speech. He said I was a cop. He said I slapped Mohamed Bouazizi. He’s a stupid fool for not checking.”
Council Inspector Hamdy, whom the media and President Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali were quick to outfit as an scapegoat to the point of even landing her in prison after the incident, has stated from the start, “My job was to chase away illegal fruit vendors. I don’t carry a gun. I don’t have a truncheon. I don’t carry a weapon at all…I had been tolerating his (Mohammed Bouazizi) illegal work for a long time, but that week I had an order from the Ministry to confiscate any merchandise sold from any illegal vendor from that particular place. So I was doing my job. When I confronted him he said, ‘Why are you targeting me? If I paid you bribes, you wouldn’t target me.’”
As Hamdy went to collect his merchandise, she claims, “He pushed me, and actually wounded me. So I screamed,” which resulted in the police showing up. “They weren’t armed either when they showed up, nor did they attack him. They just pushed him away so he couldn’t hit me. They confiscated his things and took him down to the station.”
Of course, now in a recent 2015 interview, Hamdy’s hindsight to the situation is even clearer, “Sometimes, I blame myself and say it is all, because of me. I made history since I was the one who was there and my action contributed to it, but look at us now. Meanwhile, Tunisians are suffering as always…Mohammed Bouazizi and I are both victims,” Mrs Hamdy said. “He lost his life and my life is not the same any more. When I look at the region and my country, I regret it all. Death everywhere and extremism blooming, and killing beautiful souls.”