Monday, Apr. 04, 2011

Mohamed Bouazizi

Age: 26
Occupation: Fruit and vegetable seller
Previous TIME 100 appearances: 0

Bouazizi was literally the spark that set off the revolutions of the Arab Spring. The sole support for his mother and his seven siblings, he was humiliated and abused by a policewoman in the Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid. She confiscated the fruit and vegetable cart with which he made his living. Bouazizi set himself on fire in front of the local government building. Fatally burned, he lingered for more than two weeks even as immense popular anger grew around Tunisia, fed by Facebook and other social media. When Bouazizi died, the authoritarian government of President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali would find itself with just 10 days to survive as the first of the revolutions to convulse the region sent the dictator fleeing.