Tonight we are all Tunisians
By Yvonne Ridley
January 15, 2010 "Information Clearing House" -- Over the last few days we have seen some of the bravest people facing down some of the worst.
Armed with nothing more than a revolutionary heart and hopes of a better future they gathered and protested as government forces aimed their weapons and fired live rounds in to the crowds.
But the ammunition and the underlying threats of arrest and torture meant absolutely nothing to the masses – for they had simply lost their fear.
It was the final testament to the brutality of a dictator who has had the support of European leaders and various presidents of the United States.
And that the Tunisian President Zine El-Abedine Ben Ali fled from his country like a rat up a drainpipe after 23 brutal years spoke volumes about the character of the man himself.
If he had one ounce of the courage his own people displayed, he too would have stayed but most of these tyrants are gutless with the moral fibre of a dung beetle. The demise of Ben Ali came when police prevented an unemployed 26-year-old graduate from selling fruit without a licence. Mohammad Bouazizi turned himself in to a human torch on December 17 and died of the horrific burns in Sidi Bouzid, in central Tunisia.
It was the final straw, a defining moment which ignited rallies, marches and demonstrations across Tunisia.
And revelations from Wikileaks cables exposing the corrupt and extravagant lifestyle of Ben Ali and his grasping wife fanned the flames of unbridled anger from a people who were also in the grip of poverty.
I knew it was coming. I saw the burning desire for freedom in the eyes of the courageous people of Ghafsa when the Viva Palestina Convoy entered the country in February 2009 on its way to Gaza.