The International Festival of the Revolution of 17 December kicks off in the Tunisian city Sidi Bouzid on 16 December and will continue until 19 December. The organisers aim to underscore the role of the city in triggering the uprising that lead to the ouster of former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on 14 January 2011.
The event will stress the idea that the success of the revolution is directly linked to 17 December 2010, when Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old street vendor, torched himself to death in protest of the confiscation of his wares and his public humiliation by local officials. The event provoked the anger of many in Sidi Bouzid, leading to general protests and further clashes in other cities, including Thala, at the beginning of January 2011 - followed by a countrywide uprising.
The festival will offer a variety of artistic activities held indoors and outdoors: photography exhibitions, film screenings, street music, workshops and poetry readings by Tunisian and Arab poets, including the Egyptian Ahmed Fouad Negm and the Palestinian Tamim Barghouthi. Among the participants will be the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkul Karaman from Yemen as well as artists, poets, intellectuals, journalists and political activists from Tunisia, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Morocco, Egypt, Iraq, Palestine and Spain.
Organisers are planning a number of activities for children as well. At midnight on 17 December, candles will be lit commemorating martyrs of the revolution.
A conference, “The Tunisian Revolution: Building for the Right to Democracy and Revolution”, with international participation, will discuss the revolution and the road to a democratic Tunisia.