As reported by his friend Jamil, another vendor, Bouazizi's ultimate, exasperated plea just before he lit himself on fire illustrated eloquently the economic roots of the uprising that came to be called the Arab Spring: "How do you expect me to make a living?" It is a plea the newly minted Tunisian government would do well to keep in mind as it begins to govern.
The Tunisian government is now at a critical juncture. It will have to decide whether to continue pushing for an Islamic dictatorship through the drafting of a new constitution; or to recalibrate its vision for the country's future and pursue the implementation of an Islamic democracy that reflects the population's will.
I was one of the lucky few who was invited to attend a rare opportunity to have a roundtable discussion with former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan who was in Toronto for an exclusive speaking engagement as part of an ongoing speakers series. Annan answered our questions which covered various hot button topics including the ways towards a successful society, Iran, Romney and China. Here is what he said.
For the second consecutive year, Tunis's historic Acropolium de Carthage has been the theatre of a week's worth of fashion extravaganza and talent. Attracting style aficionados of all ages, sexes and fashion orientations as well as local and international press, the 4th edition of Fashion Week Tunis 2012 is still the talk of the town in now-oh-so-famous Tunisia.
Canadian businesses should invest in increasing the productive capacity of the Arab world because there is immense opportunity with an educated and eager workforce. The challenge will be to ensure that Canadian investors do not appear complicit in the political trappings of the inefficiencies of the Arab bureaucracies.