Despite decades of autocratic rule in the MENA region, many of us were amazed to find out through the media that Bouazzizi, the young street peddler who immolated himself in Tunisia in December 2010 and caused, as a result, the snowballing of revolts throughout the Arab region, was actually rebelling against a policewoman who humiliated him in public. Juicy details of the “evil” policewoman were soon to follow and were published not only in tabloids but also in many respectable mainstream newspapers.
The political uprisings that swept across the Arab world over the past year represent the most significant challenge to authoritarian rule since the collapse of Soviet communism. In a region that had seemed immune to democratic change, coalitions of activist reformers and ordinary citizens succeeded in removing dictators who had spent decades entrenching themselves in power.
On Saturday, 30th of 2011, Souhayr Belhassen, the Tunisian President of FIDH, received the Takreem Arab Woman of the Year Award, during a ceremony held at the Katara cultural village in Qatar.