Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi's desperate act of self-immolation triggered a shame in many Arabs that they hadn't done enough for their dignity and freedom, igniting protests for democracy. Under what conditions have such 'founding deaths' worked in other societies?
The protesters who toppled Tunisia's dictator weren't advocating sharia or Islamic law. They were calling for freedom, democracy, and multiparty elections. Across the Arab Middle East, the generation that is leading the protest against dictatorship does not have an Islamist character.