This article was published in Identity Magazine in June 2012 regarding the presidential elections … same article now applies to the rerun between Morsi and Shafik.
To vote or not to vote? What difference does it make?
I boycotted the presidential elections! I do not take part in the "crowning" of the Egyptian president for the coming 4 years – at least! I am not alone; I know many Egyptians who did the exact same thing!
Why? You might think that we – those who boycotted the elections – do not care, but this is far from the truth!
So why didn't we vote for anyone?
Well! Here are the reasons!
First: We have a fact-based evidence-proven belief that this whole elections thing is a make-belief game! It is a staged farce that we find ridiculous. The military will maintain its position as the hand that plays the puppets and Egyptians will still be the audience entrapped in the intricacies of the show.
Second: Who do we vote for? The final list of the candidates has a few well known names and the rest are totally anonymous people who were neglected by the media and marginalized by other candidates. The famous names are notorious for their pledged allegiance to the former regime, to the former president himself, to corruption, to the Muslim Brotherhood and knows it, to the Muslim Brotherhood and denies it, or to other dictators in the region – dead or alive. The only exception is Khaled Ali who will not win because those who believe him will not vote for him because they know that he would not win! I know it sounds ironic and confusing! This is an innuendo that those voters know that the regime will not die and that the military junta would not allow a human rights lawyer and democracy activist to become president! It is as though Khaled Ali is too good to be the president of this country!
Third: We voted before and our votes did not count! We voted before against the constitutional amendments and we wanted a brand new constitution written because this country deserves a chance! We voted before for the revolutionaries who were nominated for parliament seats because we hoped for real change! The promise for freedom, social justice, and dignity will not be fulfilled by one man in power; it is rather a whole system that empowers people as opposed to another man living in his own bubble and playing Monopoly with the demons in his head!
Fourth: It is a complete waste of time! If we do not believe that the elections are real and if we know – based on previous experience – that voting consumes you mentally and physically as you line up for what seems like an eternity in front of a school or a station in extreme heat, extreme traffic, extreme crowds, extreme arguments, and extreme cheap candidate stunts to "buy" votes.
Fifth: Those who voted for a candidate or the other gave their support in fear as opposed to conviction; the fear of change (Shafik supporters), the fear of the Islamists (Amr Moussa supporters), the fear of the old regime and the Muslim Brotherhood (Aboul Fottoh supporters), the fear of the seculars (Morsi supporters), the fear of all the previous candidates (Sabbahy supporters), or the fear of all the previous supporters including Sabbahy (Khaled Ali supporters). It is worth noting that those fears might be unrealistic or ill-placed and the choice of supporter might not be appropriate to bust the phobia related to the choice.
Sixth: Nothing will ever change! The change demanded by the people does not need another one man show with all the strings and puppets in his hands! If any change is to be seen, Egypt needs a president who is against centralization! This country needs a president who has a vision and shares it properly with every single citizen, the courage to empower ministers, associates, syndicate heads, and organization chiefs, and the firmness to create monitoring schemes in collaboration with civil society organizations. This man needs to let go of power and embrace accountability and responsibility. The men who are fighting over the scepter are all greedy for power, full of baloney, and in love with their own reflection!
Seventh: With the exception of Khaled Ali – who will not win because no one would allow it – they are all old! Too old in their ways and methods! Where would fresh ideas come from?
Eighth: They all do not know the difference between president and God! They all do not know that it is not the job of the president to prohibit this or that! There is a parliament and there are citizens whose "votes" should count!
Ninth: They all have vendettas and personal agendas with something or someone and they are all too full of themselves to pursue those vendettas at the expense of change and development.
Tenth: There are "people" out there who really do not want any positive changes in Egypt! It is against their best interests and businesses!
So what did I do? Not going at all was not the right form of boycotting this fiasco! I went and I voted for two candidates … two random candidates and left! I intentionally ruined my vote! In the old days if 100 people voted in the presidential elections; 99 voted for Mubarak and 1 made a mistake with the voting card, the result was 99% voted for Mubarak … those who did not go did not do anyone any favors. This is why I went … my messed up voting card will take away from the percentages of whoever wins!