Friday, June 1, 2012

The Arm Twisting Elections in Egypt

Once upon a time, we had a presidential elections in Egypt. It was our first elections after the fall of Mubarak. We had 13 candidates in this elections. And my worst case scenario was seeing two of them in the run-off. Guess what? The first stage is over now, and those two candidates, and no one else, are our only choices at the moment!

Who are those two candidates then?

Those two candidates are Ahmed Shafik and Mohamed Morsy. The first was Mubarak's prime-minister, he is an ex-army-man. He has been sued for corruption. He's part of Mubarak's regime that we revolted on, so it's a shame to see him running in the first elections after the revolution. The later is the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate, or let's say puppet. The brotherhood are now controlling the parliament, the syndicates, during last year and half they refused to take a radical stance and confront with the ruling military junta, so should we hand over the presidential post to them too!?

The Big Pharaoh, made a comparison here between voting for each of them, and also boycotting the elections or ruining one's vote. I chose to either boycott or ruin my vote, and even if my reasons are not that rational, I still believe in them.

The Arm Twisting Game

Before the first round of the Elections, supporters of the different candidates used to scare us from their opponents to vote for their candidates. But right after voting for in the first round, and even before the results were *officially* announces, the real arm twisting game started. Morsy's supporters bombarded me with their messages of how scary Egypt will be if we vote Shafik, and our only hope now is to support Morsy even if we do not like him. Shafik supporters - don't have a lot of friends from this camp though - are using the same strategy too.

The problem with this arm twisting game is that it reminds me with George W. Bush's famous saying, "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists". That saying that he used later on as an excuse to occupy whole countries and kill thousands of people. Mubarak too played the same game during the revolutions, he warned us it's either him or chaos! And the problem is that Mubarak then was the creator of chaos, so the beast he was blackmailing us with was his own beast.

Why I'm Not Voting for Any of Them?

You may check the Big Pharaoh's cons for each of the two candidate. But I have more reasons not to chose any of them:
  •  I don't trust them both. When Shafik was a prime minister he promised the Egyptians on TV than none of the protesters then will ever be hurt again, and few hours later we had the famous Camel Battle in Tahrir Square, a battle that was for sure orchestrated by the regime which he was part of then. This is one of many reasons for me not to trust him. The Muslim Brotherhood on the other hand made a lot of promises that they broke later on as well, including their promise not to run for president, and here we have Morsy running in the elections.
  • Both sides are using non-ethical reasons to gain people's votes, either via bribes, giving them subsidized goods as a reward to vote for them, deceiving illiterate people and letting them to vote for their candidates. Why should I reward cheaters and vote for them!?
  • Both sides are spreading lies about the each other. I've seen religious verdicts (Fatwa) being issued telling people that voting for Shafik is against religion. Well, I hate Shafik so I might not see it a big issue, but that fact of twisting religion and using it in your favour is not something that I ethically accept. The religions weapon can be used now against Shafik, but who knows whether it can be used later on against me too. You know what? It is already being used now against me, I see people now calling those who are boycotting the elections as silent devils and traitors to their religion, etc.  
  • I have my own personal issues with both Morsy and Shafik. Mubarak's biggest problem beside him being a corrupted dictator was that he was dumb. And listening to both Shafik and Morsy makes me feel they are not any smarter. Just like Mubarak, they don't seem to have any qualifications to lead the country. I bet none of them ever read a book before, and I am not talking about books in economics or politics, but I am talking about novels, poetry or history. The current situation in Egypt needs creative leaders and not just technocrats.  
  • As some say here, why should I choose between Military Fascism and Religious Fascism, while I am free not to vote for any. 
  • Whenever I say I am boycotting the elections, Morsy's supporters say that boycotting will be in Shafik's favour, while Shafik's supporters say it is in Morsy's favour. So, the question is, why should I vote for any of them just because there is a possibility that boycotting might make his opponent win, while I have my ethical reasons to be sure that voting for any of them will make me loose my own self-respect?\
Till the elections run-off, I will do my best to convince anyone going to vote Shafik not to vote for him, but will never be able to convince them to vote for Morsy in return!