Self-Immolation in the Arab World

Five young men set themselves on fire in Rabat, Morocco last month. (For more on the Rabat protests, see Marissa’s post from February 11th)

This relates to part of the discussion we had in class today, during the Tunisia group presentation, about self-immolation as a form of protest. It appears that this is becoming more common in Arab countries, perhaps signifying increasing frustration and desperation among citizens.

Click on the New York Times headline below to see the full article that appeared in the news in January (it should open in a new window or tab).

Self-Immolation Is on the Rise in the Arab World

BEIRUT, Lebanon — More than a year after a young Tunisian set himself on fire and touched off revolutions throughout the Arab world, self-immolation, symbolic of systemic frustration and helplessness, has become increasingly common across the region.

The five men in Rabat were unemployed university graduates. According to the Times, the official unemployment rate in Morocco is 9.1 percent nationally, but it is 16 percent for university graduates. The Times also said that the Arab media has been paying little attention to these recent self-immolations across the entire region.

– Svati Narula