Both Mohamed Bouazizi and Anders Breivik did not like the society they were living in and wanted to change it. The similarities between the two men stop there. otherwise they are each other’s exact opposite.

Suffering chronic unemployment the young Tunisian tried to make a living as a street vendor. This wasn’t easy either, due to the regular harassment from the much hated Tunisian police for failing to pay bribes. One day he had enough. After being slapped in the face by a police officer and having his scales confiscated, Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire. His act was a catalyst for the Arab Spring.

What Anders Brevik didn’t like in his society was neither chronic unemployment nor harassment by the police but Middle Eastern looking people walking down the street. He despised the Labour Party for being “culturally Marxist” as well as his own parents for supporting it. On the 22nd July of 2011 Breivik shocked the whole of Europe when he killed 77 Labour supporters and injuring 151 by a car-bomb in a government building and a shoot out at Utoya island at a Labour Party camp.

Unlike Mohamed Bouazizi whose desperate act was triggered by the savagery of the Ben Ali regime, Anders Breivik enjoyed every right granted in a democracy. In fact, one reason why his acts of terror were so shocking is due to the fact that they took place in Norway, the country voted as most democratic in the world for consecutive years. Unlike Bouazizi, Breivik could have worked to change society by supporting a political party, or even form his own if none of the available parties supported his ideology.

Yet, the most striking difference between these two men is the result of their actions. Bouazizi probably knew his actions would have some kind of political impact, but I’m more than sure that he wouldn’t have predicted the whole of North Africa rising up against it’s tyrants following his self-immolation. On the other hand, Breivik’s utter failure resulted in a more united Norway instead of the one based on the apartheid and segregation he dreamt of.

My concern is that Europe has thousands of Breiviks. People who not only hate other human beings on the basis of race, culture or religion but also the very foundations of democracy.

The same democratic foundations that Mohemed Bouazizi and millions of North Africans are craving and spilling their own blood for.

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