February 06, 2023
Analysis

Pyongsong: Site of the revolution to come?

City near North Korea’s capital has become center of national commerce

Have you heard of Ben Arous in Tunisia? Or of Timisoara in Romania? Probably not, but both are quite important in one regard: Both were places where major revolutions erupted as a result of a seemingly insignificant incident.

Ben Arous was a place where, in 2011, an unemployed computer technician whose fruit stall had been confiscated by a local police woman decided to set himself on fire. His death resulted in an uprising in Tunisia and set off the Arab Spring. Timisoara in Romania was a town in which, in 1989, the police tried to arrest a local priest, protestors rushed to protect him and soon began the revolution in Romania that toppled Nicolae Ceausescu.