Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Presidential elections coming soon (I)

My Arabic homework was: write about the most important thing that happened to you this week.

So I did.

In return, my Arabic teacher told me, what the strangest thing is for her at the moment. She is getting asked: “Madam, who are you going to vote for?”

I do not consider it really as a strange question because I suppose that mainly ordinary, uneducated people expect advice from the teacher. Yet no! Oh no, she says, even very educated, high ranking persons ask this question. I have to add that my Arabic teacher has always been politically active.

She’s shocked about the fact how hard it is for her fellow citizens to choose one of the thirteen candidates.

Is this really a surprise? Thirty (30!!!!!) years under the same political system. For thirty years, nobody had to care about a constitution, about human rights, about political rights and duties, about laws, about a parliament, about elections and about politics. For thirty years, it was beyond all questions: there was one party, one president. They had at their command all the power and those who were not with them, were outside. Outside means: in jail, in exile, in the underground or too poor to bother about anything else than the question: what would fill their stomachs the following day. Thirty years is a whole generation. More than 30% of Egypt’s population is younger than 14 years, that means, about 50% of the population never ever knew another system. Imagine!

And who is she going to elect? I didn’t ask, since this is of no importance. What’s the use of a president without a constitution? What are his rights? Without a constitution he will be a puppet like the present parliament. We agree about that.

We also agree about who will be the next president. And then? Then Egypt will be very dark, she says. Upon these words, I have again this strange feeling in my stomach that appears every time when I discuss the present situation with my students.

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