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Posted at 1:18 PM ET, 02/24/2011

Mother of Tunisian man who inspired revolt reaches out to Libyans

By Melissa Bell

A Tunisian man places flowers near what has been renamed Mohamed Bouazizi Martyr Street, in recognition of Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire Dec.17, which in part sparked the Tunisian revolution. (Fethi Belad/AFP)

The main square of Tunisia was once called 7 February Square, in honor of the day Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali took control of the country. That square is now called Mohamed Bouazizi Martyr street after one of the Tunisian revolution heroes. Bouazizi, a college-educated 26-year-old, set himself on fire after police beat him up for selling fruit in the street. His death helped trigger the protests that brought down Ben Ali.

The domino effect that has followed -- Egypt next, and then protests fanning out across the Middle East and into Africa -- has been spurred on through the speed of the Internet. Not only have the demonstrators been inspired by other revolutions, they have been actively receiving support from other countries through social media. A recent example: Bouazizi's mother recorded a video for al-Jazeera that has quickly gone viral through the Middle East.

"I tell the people of Libya, may God help you. May you get everything you wish for," Menobia Bouazizi said, standing beneath a large portrait of her son. "God willing, Libya will be a free country. We hope your dictator leaves, as Ben Ali has left."

By Melissa Bell  | February 24, 2011; 1:18 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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