Thursday, January 21, 2016

Meet The Man Who Helped Trigger The Arab Spring

Five years ago, two Tunisians set themselves on fire in protest against the country's autocratic government. The world remembers one of them, the fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi. The other was Hosni Kaliya, pictured here. He survived, but now says he wishes he hadn't. Clemens Höges/ DER SPIEGEL

Clemens Höges, Spiegel Online: 'I Wish I Could Die': Meeting the Man Who Helped Trigger the Arab Spring

The Arab Spring began five years ago when two men set themselves on fire in Tunisia. One of them survived his self-immolation -- and now wishes he hadn't. This is his story.

Hosni Kaliya pulls a cigarette out of his pack with his mouth. When he poured gasoline on his body and set himself on fire, most of his right hand was consumed by the flames and all that remains is a stump without fingers. He still has four fingers on his left hand, but they jut out like claws, burned, stiff and contorted. His fingernails are curled. He wears black wool gloves with the fingertips cut off, so that they won't dangle emptily. A knit cap protects Kaliya's head, where his hair was burned off, and his unusually small ears. But the disfigured face, the work of doctors using old and new skin, how could he hide that?

Kaliya needs medication to sleep. Should his head fall backwards, he could be strangled by the skin on his neck, because it's stretched too tightly across his larynx. He shouldn't smoke, because the flames and soot severely damaged his lungs and trachea. But he does so nonetheless, as if he were trying to destroy what he has turned into: this figure that instills fear in children, a prisoner in his own body. "I wish I could die," says Kaliya.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I know about Mohamed Bouazizi, and while I knew that a second person also tried to self immolate .... and who survived .... I did not know that it was Hosni Kaliya until now. There is a lot of pain in this post .... but it is worth the read to understand how much of a disappointment the Arab Spring has become. On a personal note .... when I look back at what I wrote in this blog .... I am shocked that I predicted all of this. More to the point .... I expressed my fears in March 2011 that this revolution may lead to something terrible .... sighhh .... and I was right. My commentary at the time is here .... How The Arab Revolution Started.


Daniel said...

He says he did not mean to start anything like that, and I am inclined to believe it. All the more remarkable that he accepts his (IMHO miniscule) share of responsibility for what had happened. Admirable. His plight is a terrible thing, even without the guilt on top of it.

Anonymous said...

He should keep trying.

Anonymous said...

What an ungrateful rotten sod. Of all the people who die across the world for lack of medical treatment, and all the people who didn't get a place in the bed he occupied and the tonnes of medication he'd have needed and expert aid wasted he wishes he was dead? These people aren't just scum, they're ignorant as all heck. Middle easterners are SO prideful, they see being prideful as a good thing they don't see it as a vice! It's absurd!