The Slap Heard Round the World

There are a number of lines you can use, if you want to see a high school boy roll his eyes. One of the most effective goes something like this: “One man can make a difference and you – as a single individual – can make a difference, too.”

You can get a boy to double clutch on the eye roll, though, if only for a moment, by telling him the story of the fruit seller in Tunisia.  The answer to the question, “How did the massive social and political change that is sweeping across North African and the Middle East begin?” flows from the actions of one man.

Nobody expected Mohamed Bouazizi to change the world, but that’s what he did when in his own way, he screamed out, “I’m not going to take it any more!” after he was slapped by a government official. Bouazizi protested his country’s massive corruption by setting himself on fire, and that fire has found more kindling than anyone could have possibly predicted.

You have to wonder what Faida Hamdi, the government official who slapped Bouazizi in December, makes of all of this today. This policeman’s daughter who is described as having “a strong personality” would at least agree that one woman can make a difference, too.

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