Tunisia's Tumultuous Month
The President and the Martyr
The dramatic fall of the Tunisian government has its roots in Sidi Bouzid, a small town far from the country's glamorous coastline. On December 17, a young fruit seller named Mohammed Bouazizi, humiliated and frustrated by the way he was treated by a female police officer, marched first to the municipal government offices and then to the governor's building, hoping to complain, but no one would see him. Less than an hour later, he returned to the governor's office, poured paint thinner over himself and set himself on fire. He did not die immediately; he remained alive for 18 days, during which time, news of his act reached the capital and President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali (second from left in this photo) who came to visit him in the hospital.