The name of Mohamed Bouazizi has largely been lost in the unfolding story of the Arab Spring. Yet history will record the 26-year-old Tunisian’s central role in the upheaval that first rocked the Maghreb and spread into the Middle East. Bouazizi was a university graduate living in a provincial town where he could not find work. To earn some money, he took to selling fruit and vegetables in the street without a licence. When the authorities stopped him and confiscated his produce, he set himself alight, dying in hospital on January 4. This was the incident that prompted the riots which forced Tunisia’s president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, to flee, triggering similar uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria.