Friday, January 14, 2011

Tunisia's Spark - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Tunisia's Spark - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Theodore Dalrymple compares the Tunisian and Algerian riots to what the future holds for Europe. He also recounts the figure at the center of it all:

The story of the young Tunisian Mohammed Bouazizi, whose suicidal self-immolation was the spark that set Tunisia aflame, is instructive.

He was 26 and had a degree in computer science. Like 200,000 other university graduates in Tunisia (in a population of 10 million), he could not find a job. He then tried selling fruits and vegetables from a stall. However, he did not have bureaucratic permission to do this—such permission being bestowed by other university graduates, lucky or well-connected enough to have found jobs in the public-sector bureaucracy. The police constantly harassed him because he didn’t have the requisite licenses. It is said that he set fire to himself when a policeman spat in his face. ...

The penny is not likely to drop soon regarding the fact that governments don’t create jobs; at best, they create the conditions in which jobs can be created. The future of Europe, I fear, can be discerned in Tunis and Algiers.

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