Mohammed Bouazizi and Aaron Bushnell: The Self-Immolation of Men and The Call For Revolution.

Adebayo Adeniran
3 min readFeb 27, 2024

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Image via Twitter

It was Mohammed Bouazizi who forever reconfigured North Africa and the Middle East.

But he didn’t know it.

When the Tunisian street vendor decided to self-immolate to protest the municipal government’s stifling of his business, none of us around the world, who’d heard about his suicide, thought that anything would emerge from his actions.

But we were wrong.

By the time his funeral procession took to the streets of Tunis, it was clear that this was no ordinary protest: two million Facebook accounts were lit with images of Bouazizi’s actions, which only fuelled the anger on the streets.

And within a number of days, North Africa erupted in a way that it had never done before with the toppling of governments in quick succession, across Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen.

While it is worth pointing out that the Arab spring did not have a positive outcome with the disintegration of Libya, Yemen and the rise of ISIS, the events of 2011 did show that the will of the people should never be underestimated.

But let’s be clear: Mohammed Bouazizi wasn’t the first to take this extraordinary and extreme step.

Those with very long memories will remember a Czech student called Jan Palach, who set himself alight in Wencelas Square in 1969 in protest at Soviet Russia’s invasion of Czechoslovakia. His actions motivated eight others to do the same, back then.

The actions of the Czech students didn’t have profound ramifications for the Soviet empire in the way that Bouazizi’s had for North Africa and the Middle East.

And the Middle East and the wider world is the basis of this article.

Over the last four months, we have seen the American and British political leadership ride roughshod over the will of the people in slaughtering thousands of women and children in Gaza.

And like millions of decent people around the world, Aaron Bushnell felt powerless and voiceless by his government’s actions, but unlike most folks, the serviceman decided to do something about it.

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Adebayo Adeniran

A lifelong bibliophile, who seeks to unleash his energy on as many subjects as possible