Tunisia’s popular uprising is reverberating across the Arab world. But such movements face problems that go far wider than dictatorship to encompass the whole range of human security, says Vicken Cheterian.
The desperate act of an unemployed university graduate living in the Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid sparked a wave of popular unrest that in January 2011 overthrew the authoritarian regime of the president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
The self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi has been echoed in other parts of the Arab world. In Algeria, riots and demonstrations in protest against steep rises in basic foodstuffs (the price of sugar and cooking oil, for example, went up by 30% on 1 January 2011) forced the authorities to rescind the increases; the protests continue in Egypt and elsewhere, even in the face of deaths and injuries, and have broadened into demands for greater freedom.