A symbolic gesture. A young man, injured during the Tunisian revolution of 2011, set himself on fire after denouncing the lack of government assistance, AFP learned from his family on Monday.
This gesture recalls that of Mohamed Bouazizi, the street vendor who set himself on fire on December 17, 2010, triggering the Tunisian revolution which ended the reign of President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and kicking off the revolts of the Arab Spring in other countries in the region.
Died Saturday in hospital in Tunis
Néji Hefiane, 26, died on Saturday in a hospital in the southern suburbs of Tunis. He set himself on fire Thursday in front of his family, justifying his gesture by difficult social conditions, his father Béchir Hefiane told AFP. “It was the injustice and marginalization he suffered that drove my son to end his life.”
Living in Intilaka, one of the popular districts of Tunis where violent demonstrations took place during the popular uprising between December 2010 and January 2011, Néji Hefiane, who at the time was only 16 years old, had been gunshot wound to the head.
Since then, he had received no help from the authorities and felt completely ignored even though his name was on the official list of wounded of the Revolution, according to his sister Zohra.
“My brother did not benefit from any rights: neither free health care, nor at work. He knocked on all doors but he found only negligence, even on the part of the President of the Republic ”, she added.
A month ago, his father sent a letter to President Kais Saied explaining his son’s situation and asking him to intervene to help his family in great economic difficulty. “We have not received any response, even after the death of my son,” he regretted.
“Despair and disgust in these people”
Other wounded of the revolution “threaten to put an end to their lives”, assured AFP lawyer Lamia Farhani, president of the Aoufiaa Association (Faithful, editor’s note) which defends the rights of “martyrs and the wounded Of the revolution.
For Me Farhani, “there is no political will to guarantee the minimum of rights” of these victims. “The State and all the governments which have succeeded one another since 2011, are responsible for this state of despair and disgust among these people”.