Fadwa Laroui, a 25-year-old Moroccan mother with two children set herself on fire after she was refused social housing because she was a single mother. Another self-immolation in Tunisia became a catalyst for revolution. Tunisians who took to the streets, felt an empathy with Mohammed Bouazizi. They too suffered the same humiliations and daily struggles. In a way he died for them.
Will Moroccans have empathy for Fadwa and other single mothers or will they just pity her single motherhood and decision to destroy herself ? This got me thinking about the revolutions across North Africa – Will the freedoms being fought for include sexual minorities and single mothers like Fadwa? Will the freedoms include rights for migrants from south of the Sahara? Will countries like Egypt, Libya, Morocco begin to address racism? Some say the midst of a revolution is not the time to talk of these things and make excuses and talk in denial. I say, exactly the opposite. This is the best time to talk of these things because it is in the height of revolutionary struggle that one should have the most empathy, the most love for others. It’s also a time when stripped bare, new ways of thinking and doing can be born.