In December 2010, in the small town of Sidi Bouzid in the North African country of Tunisia, a street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi lit himself on fire and ultimately took his own life as a last resort to protest police harassment and ongoing oppression under decades of dictatorship.
This act of desperation brought to the surface years of latent popular frustration at Tunisia’s authoritarian regime and repression of even the most basic human rights. It led to nationwide demonstrations that resulted in the first of several Arab Spring movements, which toppled dictators and brought about a transition to democracy in Tunisia.
Ten years later, in the city of Minneapolis, George Floyd was killed at the hands of American police. This act of aggression brought to the surface years of latent popular frustration at America’s long-standing systemic racism and the senseless killings of black people. It has led to nationwide demonstrations and unprecedented statements, from major corporations and public figures to small grassroots NGOs.