A Voting Day Story

Voting was on Monday and Tuesday of this week; there’d been a lot of anticipation leading up to it. No one was quite sure how the country would react. There was talk of boycotting the election, but even more talk of how stupid it would be to boycott. Foreigners were advised to stock up on food in case the poo hit the fan. And what with the recent Tahrir clashes, the voting could have been disastrous.

But Monday morning when we woke up and checked the news on AlJazeera and Al-Masry Al-Youm, we were happy to find articles detailing the peace and calm that characterized the voting lines. There were a few skirmishes, but on the whole, everyone was thankful for the overwhelming turnout. Some voting stations were functioning on “Arab time” on Day 1, which meant the ballots arrived late and voters waited between 4-8 hours for their 5 minute voting process.

We also heard that in Alexandria the sky had opened up in a downpour and voters stayed out in the rain to vote (no one carries umbrellas here). The man told me that they piled stones in the puddles of water so the voters could stand above the water while they waited.

I got to hear a voting day story from an Egyptian friend of a friend the other day.

He said he went to the bank in the morning and overheard an older Egyptian man calling the Tahrir protesters hooligans, vandals and dishonorable people. The man interrupted the older Egyptian’s rant to ask him if he’d voted yesterday. The older man nodded; of course he’d gone to vote, everyone had. The man asked him if he’d experienced a democratic voting process in his life before, and the man answered with a no.
Then he asked him if he’d ever done anything to change that. The older man again said no. Our friend concluded: “You have no right to call them dishonorable if they died to give you the right to vote yesterday.”
Powerful.
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