Saturday, January 29, 2011
The oldest of three children, the son of an ambulance driver and a mother who makes spare cash selling olives from the family’s groves, Dhouibi spent one-third of his family’s monthly income of $210 each month for four years to earn a university degree. When the degree failed to land him a job, his parents doubled down and sent him to school for another two years, for a master’s in computer technology.

Now two years on the job market with no job, Dhouibi — polite, earnest, thoughtful, and fluent in three languages — spends his morning with other unemployed high school and college graduates at the stand-up tables in Sidi Bouzid’s Café Charlotte. He nurses a coffee, thanks to the change his mother gives him from her olive sales. He goes home for lunch, visits an Internet cafe in the afternoon, returns home for dinner, sleeps in a room with his brother, and wakes, hopeless, in the morning to do it all again.

“Imagine your life going on like this,” he said at the Café Charlotte, standing over the coffee that was the treat of his day. “Every day the same.”
The Arab World’s Youth Army


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