A man was harassed by the police, and he was hit.
People protested - mostly peacefully.
Some were not peaceful - some people were killed in the protests.
They wanted change.
The government tried to stop the protests.
The man died.
The protests increased.
The people wanted change.
Some say the protests happened because of the man who was hit by police.
More people say that the protests happened because of the economic inequality in the country.
What did I leave out?
Perhaps most importantly, I left out that the man set himself on fire. He did not die due to being hit by the police - the accounts I've read say he was slapped in the face.
That was the catalyst for change in much of North Africa and the Middle East. Some of the change was good, some of the change was bad.
The government, for its part, tried to quell the revolution, but it was too late. I remember seeing pictures of President ("President") Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali visiting Mohamed Bouazizi in the hospital before Bouazizi died. But by that point it was already too late. The people of Tunisia were fed up with the injustices perpetuated under his watch.
Students worked with partners again today. They read an article about the Arab Spring, discussed it, and answered some questions. One of the captions that was under a picture read, "The U.S. has walked a fine line in responding to protests, encouraging demands for democracy while trying to maintain good relations with longtime allies." Many students were unfamiliar with the term, "walked a fine line."
I asked them if they've ever had a friend who was making bad choices. Did they want to confront them on the issue? What might make someone hesitate to bring it up?
The issues in the lives of nations often mirror issues in our own lives. A lot of good discussion today.
I'd love to hear what you think about it. You know the drill: students, write me a note with a couple lines from the discussion. Have the adult you discussed with sign the paper.
Anybody else, feel free to comment. I do moderate the comments, since I have many parents and students who read the blog, but in general as long as there's no swearing and your avatar isn't offensive, it will be posted.