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Mohammed Bouazizi no Jan Palach or Ryszard Siwiec

Reader comment on item: Mohammed Bouazizi, Historical Figure

Submitted by Maria (United States), Apr 20, 2011 at 09:17

Truly tragic story but I doubt that Mohammed Bouazizi's final act of protest would have been committed had the persecuting police official not been female.

Compare with the self-immolation of Ryszard Siwiec, a Polish teacher and former fighter of Armia Krajowa who set himself on fire in September 1968 in protest of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact forces invasion of Czechoslovakia: his was a principled act of political protest, albeit desperate, against totalitarian aggression. Likewise, Jan Palach, a Czech student, repeated the same act of desperate protest in early 1969 to call attention of the world more interested in "bad peace" with the Soviet oppressor than in a "good quarrel".

I have the feeling that poor Mohammed Bouazizi, much put upon and oppressed by the brutality of the corrupt police force, might have gone back to complain another day - had not the officer who slapped him was a woman: in the dominant culture of the region this act of public humiliation that can only be cleansed by spilling the blood – ideally, of the offender but in this case, powerless and desperate as he was, Bouazizi chose his own.

I do not want to diminish his tragic end or the brutality of the conditions that led to it. I want to draw a comparison and have the readers make their own conclusions.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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