Friday, March 18, 2011

I'm Voting No

I’m not out to convince anyone. It’s a little late for that. I’m not going to even try and express any logic because others have done so convincingly enough over the past few days. I’m just keeping track of how I feel.

An image saying 'No to constitutional changes' which I've come to like.

I’m voting ‘No’ because I don’t like the changes. I don’t like the plan, I don’t like the army and I don’t like the manner in which all of this was handled. The changes themselves are measly and I will never sign a document that accepts changes to this old broken down contract called the constitution. I don’t care if you’re going to draw up a new one after this. The word ‘change’, that old rotten constitution with the same crappy numbers associated and the same old articles are too disheartening.

It’s been made very clear to us that ‘Yes’ is the right answer. It’s been made clear through the media, by direct advertisement, by false information and most of all by telling us what happens next when we vote ‘Yes’. The other scenario has been kept as a mystery. We don’t know what will happen if we vote ‘No’ just like we didn’t know what would happen when Mubarak steps down, just like we didn’t know who would be appointed if Shafik steps down, just like we don’t know anything about the country’s finances.

Fear of the unknown has kept us enslaved and it seems that for many, instinct still drives them away from the unknown. In almost every fork in the road during this revolution, the unknown has led us to gains, although not always better places.

I’m voting no, knowing full well the arguments of stability, economy and time, and all of these other things that have no factual basis. We are being driven towards fear for no good reason. No one knows what tomorrow brings, not even those who are inciting these fears.

I’m voting no because I don’t trust what’s to come next. I don’t trust the candidates that will try and be elected once more and I don’t trust them to pick the people who will create the constitution for generations to come. We’ve never been given what we wanted, so why are we expecting it now?

There is one question as to why someone should vote yes or no. It’s a question of trust. Do I trust the decision makers to give me what I want without pressuring them into it or not? My answer is no, and that’s why I’m voting no. These changes aren’t enough. We are voting on who writes the constitution and who is not to be president. I don’t think that whichever parliament comes next will be honest enough to write the constitution (or pick those who write it) and I don’t think a president who comes without one is equipped to provide and approve it.

I don’t trust people, but that’s how I’ve always been. I don’t trust our media, they will never show good candidates and they haven’t changed since the revolution started. Alternative media is in an all out war with mainstream media. Truth does prevail, but it takes a bit of time even with Facebook and Twitter.

I don’t trust the army because if they had good intentions, the law allowing political parties to form would have been activated ever since they took power. Everything is done slowly and reluctantly and I doubt that any ruler gives people freedom if they don’t demand it.

On a very personal note, I cannot vote ‘yes’ while those abroad are not given an opportunity to have a say in their nation’s fate. I know that many want to vote no. More than that, I cannot vote ‘yes’ with a clear conscience while thousands of revolutionaries and heroes are missing, locked up in military prisons after being tortured by our so-called defenders. They have been deprived of their vote; of their voice and of their chance to be a part of the decision. It may seem slightly out of place to think of their vote in this referendum considering how much torture they’ve endured and their unsealed fate, but to me it this is what they are fighting for. This is exactly what they should be doing if we were truly living in a democracy. I feel a sort of treason validating a plan by an army that is torturing young men and women who made us proud as we speak. They are the ones who have put their lives on the line for us to get a chance to vote and they are the ones that should be deciding. I feel they’ve earned it, while we, from the comfort of our seats have not.

I have plenty of valid logical reasons to vote no, but they don’t seem to matter much. Reasons can be countered with facts and lies. The real reason that’s left is that it doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel right to have my name signed on changes to a document that has claimed the lives and livelihoods of many. I will not tell my children that I ever agreed to such horrible terms of slavery even for a day. I myself have often blamed previous generations for not standing up for what’s wrong. I see no reason to play politics and sign something I will never be able to explain to any generation to come.

I value my signature. I will not associate my name with this venomous constitution while I have a choice. I will not be complicit in signing these horrible terms even for a day and even if it’s symbolic. I’m aware that the argument for ‘yes’ is that this dreaded constitution won’t come back to life, but that’s not what the paper I’m signing is going to say. I will read the paper I’m signing and if it says constitutional changes or if it mentions the articles by their same old rotten numbers, I will most certainly vote no.

I’m voting no because I can afford to. I can afford to object to something inadequate and I can afford to aspire to idealism. I appreciate the freedom I have. It is not the one granted to me by these temporary rulers, but one that I have from within. I have an obligation to my values rather than to my fears. For the first time Egyptians have the chance to have their signature mean something. To read a document, to understand that the words mean and to make a decision that will change their lives and the lives of others.

I’m not playing politics. The truth is that I don’t need to. I don’t need to vote as though I’m leading anyone, I don’t need to vote as if my vote seals Egypt’s fate. I’m trying to answer the question at hand as best I could. Sometimes we just really need to read the question.

I’m not pretending to know what’s best for the country, I’m not playing leader, I’m not trying to be smart. I’m only trying to do what I feel is right, to answer the real question at hand.

I’m voting no.

No comments: