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Cover Story

Fight club


On June 5, 1989, as the Chinese military was forcibly removing protesters from Beijing's Tiananmen Square, one anonymous man stood all alone directly in the line of armoured tanks. This man created a short, non-violent impasse in the relentless show of strength against protesters who were mostly university students calling for government accountability, freedom of the press, freedom of speech and the restoration of workers' control over industry. The man has always remained anonymous but the videotapes and photographs of the incident are iconic.


Tarek al-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian street vendor, ended his life on December 17, 2010, while giving birth to Arab Spring that flamed across several other Arab nations. Bouazizi selfimmolated to protest against the confiscation of his wares and subsequent harassment. Bouazizi's act incited spontaneous demonstrations and riots and the abdication of the then-President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years of rule. There were several other selfimmolations against autocratic regimes in other countries. The Arab Spring led to rulers being ousted from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen and civil uprisings in Bahrain and Syria. Bouazizi was chosen the person of the year (2011) in The Times, UK.


Bradley Edward Manning was assigned to an army unit near Baghdad as a US Army soldier. His time in Iraq gave him access to US government databases used to transmit classified information. He was arrested in May, 2010, in Iraq because he passed on reams of classified information to Wikileaks - this info included videos of US airstrikes in Iraq and Afghanistan, US diplomatic cables and several confidential army reports. He was charged under 22 counts to which he has pleaded guilty to 10. His court case is ongoing.

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