The price was double the market price… “A professional soccer player burned himself to death protesting the price of bananas”! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The price was double the market price… “A professional soccer player burned himself to death protesting the price of bananas”!

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In mid-April, a shocking incident occurred in Tunisia. Nizar Issouri, 35, a professional soccer player in the country, burned himself to death over the purchase of bananas.

The cause was the price of bananas. When Issauri tried to buy bananas, he found that they were sold for 10 Tunisian dinars (about 500 yen), twice the price set by the government, and when he complained to the police, he was arrested for terrorism.

After the incident, Mr. Issauri uploaded a video on his Facebook page, in which he denounced the police and said, “I’m tired of it. He said, “I am tired of this. I’m going to execute this police state today,” he declared in another social networking site .

How could such a tragedy have occurred? International journalist Toshihiro Yamada explains.

Tunisia’s trade deficit is about 25.2 billion Tunisian dinars (about 1 trillion yen), and the domestic economy is in a severe situation. Unemployment is high and prices are rising due to the new Corona, and the country is seeking a $1.9 billion loan from the IMF (International Monetary Fund) due to inflation woes. I think Mr. Issauri was venting his frustration over the economic stresses that have caused inflation to the point where he can’t even buy a banana.”

Tunisian citizens protesting against the government. The frustration with economic policies and the police seems to be at its limit (photo taken on Dec. 17, ’21).
People carry the coffin of Nizar Issouri, a professional soccer player who burned himself to death. Hundreds of people gathered in front of Issouri’s home to mourn his death (photo taken April 14, 2011).

This incident reminds us of Muhammad Bouazizi, then 26 years old, a street vendor who also burned himself to death in ’10 as a protest against the police. Unemployed, Buazizi began selling vegetables, but was humiliated by the police, who confiscated his goods and ridiculed his appearance because he was unauthorized to do so. Buazizi protested to the police, but they did not accept his protests, and he set himself on fire by pouring gasoline on himself.

The tragedy spread around the world via the Internet and ignited an anti-government movement in Tunisia. It later developed into the “Jasmine Revolution. The Jasmine Revolution spread to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, and other countries, and the anti-government movement in Arab countries was called the “Arab Spring.

The Jasmine Revolution of 2010-11 ended the dictatorship of former President Ben Ali. Although Tunisia has succeeded in democratizing itself, the people still distrust the police. This is because they monitored the people as a secret police during the dictatorship. While the Arab Spring has led to successful democratization in some countries, such as Tunisia, it has also led to civil war in others, such as Syria. If you ask me if the banana suicide case will be a rerun of the Arab Spring or ……, I think it is unlikely. However, there are indications that the freedom and democracy of the Tunisian people are under threat, as evidenced by the arrest of anti-government leaders. There is a possibility that dissatisfaction with the government will rise again and develop into a large-scale anti-government movement.

A huge portrait of Muhammad Bouazizi, who burned himself to death in 2010, hangs on the wall of a building in Sidi Bouzid, central Tunisia (photo taken December 17, 2009).

Mr. Issouri risked his life to advocate democracy. We hope that peace in Tunisia will be preserved.

  • Photo. Afro

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