The Arab Spring: one year on – part two

The following is an excerpt from an article published by the Huffington Post.

CC Flickr / Confetti

A year ago, Tunisians were in the process of bringing down a corrupt leader. It all started on 17 December 2010 when Tunisian fruit-seller Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire outside the building of the local officials who had abused him. With that extraordinary act of protest, the Arab Spring began.

Driven to despair after his unlicensed fruit and vegetable cart — bought on credit — was confiscated by the police, Bouazizi expressed his refusal to submit to those who abuse their power the only way he could, by paying the supreme price. If only there had been another way for him to make the powerful aware of his plight.

One year later, several governments across the Middle East have been toppled by demonstrators decrying rampant corruption but still the question remains: Was his tragic sacrifice in vain? Read more.

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Cobus de Swardt

About Cobus de Swardt

Cobus de Swardt is the Managing Director of Transparency International. From May 2004 to May 2007 Cobus de Swardt was Director for Global Programmes at Transparency International (TI). Cobus de Swardt is a South African sociologist whose work experience spans the fields of globalisation, development policy, international relations and multinational business management. During the 1980s and early 1990s he was active in the anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa chairing the ANC in Cape Town.

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2 Responses to The Arab Spring: one year on – part two

  1. giuliano beghi 30 December 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    hi Mr. de Swardt,

    no, the sacrifice of the fruit seller will not be in vain.
    It will take some time but, finally justice and equality will prevail.


  1. Corruption: An ongoing revolution in the Arab world | space for transparency - 5 December 2012

    […] unprecedented changes with the toppling of dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya last year. The Arab Spring served to transform the anti-corruption issue from the responsibility of a few, to the […]