Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Egypt’s Free Unfair Elections

I just voted in Egypt’s free unfair elections. Most people listen to it on television thinking that anchors are saying Egypt’s first free and fair elections. That is a mistake, it’s written Egypt’s first free unfair elections.

The odds were stacked against democracy from the start. Democracy has been mistaken for majority rule. It is apparently necessary to point out that they are different. Rule of the majority gives the majority the license to commit immoral acts that disrespect human rights and minority rights, but democracy does not. Real democracy should not allow the election of people who will transform rule into a dictatorship.

So back to elections. Everyone is picking someone for different reasons. This is what happens when people are deprived of choice all their lives. I’m not just talking about elections. I mean the entire culture of Egypt does not allow for more than one correct answer. School exams do not accept differing views over what is the correct answer just like Mubarak was always the right answer.

The logic behind every choice is surprisingly devoid of moral obligation. Some voting for Aboul Fettouh have expressed their interest in change, any change. Some voting for Moussa see him as experienced, although his experience is only in how to behave while in a corrupt regime and not be kicked out and sent to prison.

A Coptic woman today being interviewed by Egypt Independent said that Shafik wasn’t very good at speaking, held Mubarak as his role model, and probably won’t side with the revolution but at least he’s honest. How is that even a way to make a decision? The reality for that woman is that her fear of Islamists have driven her to a member of the former regime who was responsible for blowing up a church a little over a year ago. She also said that other candidates did not understand the economy, and when asked if Shafik did, she said no.

This is just an example and a good one at that. It’s someone who isn’t denying the facts but denying logic because fear has kicked in. There are others who will deny facts to appease their fear.  It is fear that controls these elections. This fear was propagated by all the parties involved whether they be Islamists or the military junta that has taken charge of this country.

Everyone has a different reason for voting who they vote for and it’s not an expression of their opinion. That is why these elections are unfair. People have been cornered directed by their fear not their freedom. We are not free enough to choose what we really want. With Islamists and the military controlling the political spectrum it is not foreseeable that we will be any time soon. Our fight is against those who nurture our fear.

That is why when people vote for anyone, asking them for explanation is pointless. Their fear will be manifested as twisted logic and sometimes even depraved. We are victims of mass terrorism, terrorism by religious leaders and terrorism by the state.

I know many people have not voted for those they want. I know many have voted out of fear, ignorance or pragmatism. I know many have compromised in the hopes of a bigger goal. I voted Khaled Ali. I voted selfishly before having to make all the moral compromises that I would have done anyway had he not been running. I know it’s not the wisest decision but in the ballot paper, there’s a column that says, column of expressing opinion. I’ve selfishly used that opportunity to express my opinion, not my wisdom, not my fears, not any of the pressures exerted on me. I’ve chosen the selfish route this time around instead of boycotting or ruining my ballot paper. This paper has more value to me than those who made it. My fight is to give it the real value it holds for me.

I voted in these unfair elections because the odds stacked against us may change if we fight this losing battle. There is so much we still need to learn. We need to learn how to win, we need to learn how to care, we need to learn how to rid ourselves of fear. We need to learn.


Mohamed Elkammar said...

I'm having hard time understanding the statements you make in this post.

You say it is Unfair elections. But it is not clear how you support that. "Democracy has been mistaken for majority rule" is not enough explain how unfair the elections is. Personally, I agree to some level that it maybe unfair. But not just Unfair to minorities; which I think is what you are really going after. I think it is unfair elections because it is held and conducted by unfair and selfishly motivated entity, the SCAF.

But if you think it is unfair to minorities because of majority rule, Then I would say: It is also unfair to ignorant, poor, and silent masses.

It is also unclear to me who do you mean by "we" in your statement " We need to learn how to win, we need to learn how to care, we need to learn how to rid ourselves of fear". Is it Egyptians? or is it a subset of Egyptians?

Moreover, I don't understand the reason you voted for (versus not voting at all). Is it because you think it is a responsibility? What do you think about elections boycott?

LK said...

We have a post on Liberal Koshari about Egyptians becoming one single issue voters (for or anti sharia). So, I agree with your post however I don't agree with your opening paragraph "Rule of the majority gives the majority the license to commit immoral acts that disrespect human rights and minority rights, but democracy does not. Real democracy should not allow the election of people who will transform rule into a dictatorship." how do you explain then the rise of Marine Le Pen, right-wing nut, in France (received 17% of the vote in the recent presidential elections) or the Tea Party in the US (they actually won and now a significant force in the Republican party). And there are many examples. I'd say your post is also driven by far from the Islamists, just like voters who voted for Shafik out of fear.

Wael Eskandar said...

Actually you drive my point even harder. It's not a democracy when nutters take charge. Take for example the rise of the National Socialist party.

There is no room for extremism and nutters in a democracy. My post is driven by morals and my own understanding of democracy and human rights not fears.

You're arguing on the other hand that majority rule = democracy which is completely inaccurate.

LK said...

I think you are mixing the elements of "democracy" with the elements of "free and fair elections".

Egypt is not a democracy as it is missing many of its elements such as freedom of religion, speech, rule of law, etc but, unless serious violation are reported, the recent presidential elections were "free and fair" in accordance with the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

We may not like the candidates or the election result but it was "free and fair".

Wael Eskandar said...

Actually I'm not mixing them up. I have an entire post dedicated to why elections were not free and fair, I wrote about it previously.

But very quickly, elections under a military dictatorship can never be free and fair.