Today, November 9, marks the 22nd anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I wrote about this anniversary last year and I bemoaned the fact that it is not a holiday. This event is truly one of those history-altering occurrences that changed how the world lives.
I’m actually annoyed Google doesn’t have a doodle to commemorate this event.
So, as I wrote last year, I would like to designate today as Freedom Day – a celebration of a time when the forces of good, light, and rainbows triumphed over evil, darkness, and scratchy toilet paper.
Last year, I inaugurated the Nolan Mannski Freedom Day Award by bestowing it upon Burmese democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi…who shortly after (virtually) receiving her award in November of 2010, was released from house arrest.
Pure coincidence, I concede.
For the year 2011, the second Nolan Mannski Freedom Day Award goes to Mohammed Bouazizi of Tunisia. This gentleman is credited with starting what has become known as the Arab Spring, the wave of popular uprising that have overthrown the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. Mass demonstrations were also staged in Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria (to name a few) where the governments are still in power.
Mohammed Bouazizi ignited this wave of popular unrest by igniting himself. In a protest against the lack of job opportunities and his treatment at the hands of local authorities, Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire and died.
Partly because of his act of defiance, his brother was able to vote in a democratic election in Tunisia.
Unlike the Nobel Committee, I have no problem with giving out awards posthumously, so congratulations to Mohammed Bouazizi.
More importantly, congratulations to the citizens of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya who now have the opportunity to chart their own course.