Photo Of The Moment | The Son Of Tunisia Is The Son Of The World

REUTERS: Manoubia Bou Azizi wipes her tears during an interview with Reuters at her home in Marsa district, north of Tunisia. The mother of Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian man who set himself on fire in an act of protest which inspired the Arab Spring, urged the new leaders the country is electing on Sunday to honour her son’s sacrifice by helping poor people like him.

What it must feel like to be this man’s mother. Of her son, Manoubia said: “He is no longer the son of Tunisia, he is the son of the whole world.” Nothing could be truer.

Today, Tunisia makes me feel proud to be an Arab.

I hope Bou Azizi’s legacy is safeguarded.

1 Comment

  • Well, as always real life has more hues than a legend. From

    “Manoubia freely admits she, also, has made money from the global interest surrounding her son’s death. Sometimes she will be paid by the media organisations who want to interview her, and she has a ready-made contract drawn up for them to sign. The family were given 20,000 Tunisian dinars (about £9,000) by former president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali as compensation for their loss and there are rumours – which Manoubia denies – that she has sold Mohamed’s vegetable cart to a rich businessman in the Emirates.

    Still, her new-found prosperity is much in evidence. The Bouazizi family used to live in a modest, concrete house in the central Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid. Now Manoubia, her husband and her six surviving children have decamped to a large apartment in La Marsa, a pretty seaside suburb of Tunis. Inside, there are caged canaries hanging from the tiled walls and a computer in one of the bedrooms.

    When asked to describe what kind of person her son was, Manoubia has difficulty replying. “I can’t think of one single memory,” she says. “He was a man of good faith.” When pressed, her daughter Laila remembers that her brother’s favourite meal was “steak and chips” and that he supported Esperance Sportive, a Tunisian football team. Other than this, the family is disinclined to dwell on personal detail…

    “His mother is the only winner of this revolution,” says Hania Bouazizi, a cousin of the family and Manoubia’s former neighbour. “Life is still hard for the majority of Tunisians, but she has banked thousands of dinars. She became so greedy, so haughty – she’d go into supermarkets and say, ‘Don’t you know who I am? I’m the mother of the martyr Mohamed.’ She became narcissistic and wanted to take everything for herself… That’s the real story.”

    The real story of Fedia Hamdi, the woman who supposedly slapped Mohamed Boazizi, is equally interesting.

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