Photo Gallery A Slap Heard Around the Arab World

On Dec. 17, 2010, a fruit seller named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire after a dispute with a government official. His act triggered the Arab Revolution. Why did it begin in a small Tunisian city? And how have local residents reacted to their new freedoms?
1 / 4

Then-Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali visits Mohamed Bouazizi at a Tunis hospital on Dec. 28. Bouazizi, a fruit vendor who set himself on fire after police confiscated his wares and his electronic scale, died days later.

Ben Ali was forced to flee Tunisia 10 days later under growing protests.

Foto: ddp images/AP/ ddp images/AP/
2 / 4

Protestors hold a portrait of Bouazizi during a demonstration in front of the government palace in Tunis on Jan. 28.

Foto: Str/ dpa
3 / 4

Mohamed Bouazizi's mother visits her son's grave, a gray block of cement at the edge of a family cemetery.

Foto: Mathieu von Rohr/ DER SPIEGEL
4 / 4

As each day passes, Bouazizi's mother, also pictured here at Mohamed's grave, becomes less and less like a real person. She seems to be in the process of transforming herself into a monument of grief, the mother of a holy figure.

Foto: Mathieu von Rohr/ DER SPIEGEL