US-led Bahrain conference and the Egyptian Parliamentary elections
Egypt now stands with Syria when it comes to keeping the status quo, entrapping their peoples under emergency laws and continues to crack down on human liberties. The Manama Forum for the Future was a wonderful occasion to set an agenda to promote political freedom and economic change.
The conference unveiled the freedom and democracy camp and the imposition of emergency law and continued human rights violations camp whereto the authoritarian regimes in the Middle East belong.
Egypt wants to pursue its control over the civil societies, opposition movements, and movements calling for change in Egypt which recently emerged with the widespread call by the US to promote freedom and democracy. Egypt wanted the conference's closing statement to stipulate that civil organizations, known as NGOs, to be ''legally registered'' under each country's laws. I love the word “legally registered”. They should say "Security or Government registered".
Why do I have always to feel that my country is like a hijacked plane? Are we out any soon of this situation or this plane? Why do I have to continue to live under circumstances created by irresponsible and extremist group of people.
The conference dealt a blow to U.S. President Bush's goals for the troubled region. Guess who is the reason? The answer is the so-called longstanding ally Egypt. Egypt, the second-largest recipient of U.S. aid, derailed the Forum for the Future by demanding language calling for giving Arab governments significant control over pro-democracy group.
Let’s think now, after Egypt refused the U.S. agenda for promoting freedom in the Middle East, about domestic offers to the Egyptian citizens.
On Wednesday, I went to where I should be casting my vote. The government uses public schools as polling stations. It was crowded. Not because of the queues of voters but because of the fans of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate who were paid a good amount of money to hold banners and ask people to vote for him. Anyway, wearing a Western outfit with no scarf, I felt out of place among all those women wearing galabyia/abaya (long dress with no waist so that it won’t show the women’s body curves). Campaigners started giving me their little brochures making sure that I listen to which candidates I should vote for. I screamed at the end, saying: I am not voting for the NDP or the Muslim Brotherhood. The woman who was selling the NDP candidate to me told me that Mr. X is not with the NDP. In the paper she gave me that “Mr X” is an NDP candidate, in fact it was written everywhere. It was clear as day. The NDP hires ignorant people to talk to voters. Apparently she assumed that I cannot read and write well. Hellooooooo. At the end I picked up an independent who did not make it to the Parliament when I knew the results and another person for the workers' list whom I was sure would have never made it under any circumstances.
While talking outside the room where I voted, I noticed there was a big crowd. I asked what is wrong with this room? One guy working for an independent candidate told me the judge suspended the work in this polling room because 15 people from the NDP stormed the room and wanted to vote at the same time when they are not registered. The judge suspended the work until order returned.
Here comes the interesting part, after I voted I met an Islamist candidate for al-takafoul party and I had a long talk with him. He heard me saying I will not vote for the government or the Muslim brotherhood when campaigners were chasing me. Looks like he felt insulted because I am rejecting the Muslim brotherhood agenda and the “Islam is the Solution” as a political agenda. He had a beard, disguised as modern man. I made him sweat like never before, cornering him with basic political questions. This same man gave me his work agenda, before casting my vote. The things he will be asking for at the parliament on behalf of the Dokki citizens from my own point of view are naive.
The conversation started with the worst discriminatory question someone can ask. Are you a Muslim or Christian? I was disgusted but after I heard this question, I was appalled. I was not surprised though. Citizens in the Islamists’ eyes are not good or bad citizens but of Muslims and Christians. Jews are not a topic to discuss. I told him I am a Muslim. He felt relaxed. I truly spent a good time. I was so happy to be that unrepentant shameless Muslim woman, of course only in his eyes, to talk to an Islamist candidate. I even insisted on shaking hands at the end though I know that he does not, because women are the source of sin. I was quite frank and straight forward. I know their points of weakness and I started the attack.
The bottom line of this conversation is that he does not believe in equality between men and women. He asked me whether I am a Christian or a Muslim because he assumed I might be an extremist Copt. That’s what he told me. If I were a Copt, he would not have started the conversation in the first place. Apparently, he does not sell his precious party platform to Christians. He believes in discrimination. Equality and freedom are not an issue here. They guy believes in applying the Islamic Shariaa and that whoever steals should have his/her hands cut off…etc. Tolerance, forgiveness or applying civil law is out of question. He despises the current laws of Egypt. He is running for a parliament in a country of which he does not respect its constitution. The word constitution did not appear in the conversation because he does not recognize it. He thinks it is modeled against the French laws; which are pagan laws. I asked him whether his party allows women to attain a leadership position, he had no answer. I knew it. I assumed no, because women have to follow men according to his Islamic Shariaa.
Islamists believe that they are eligible for ruling the country. I truly believe they cannot take care of a pet at their homes not to mention a whole country.
Leaving the school or the polling station, I saw another funny scene. I saw a bus full of pre-paid voters arriving to vote for vice Speaker of the Parliament whose constituency is Dokki as well. I do not have to mention that she is an NDP candidate. I could not help laughing, seeing the pre-paid voters. This only happens in Egypt.
So Egypt is turning down an offer by the U.S. to promote freedom in the Middle East by which the world can support some popular groups in the region. In Egypt, that would be applied to Kefaya, Shayfenkoum and all movements calling for change that are not legally registered according to the Egyptian government. Hence they do not qualify for any international support to pursue their struggle for freedom and democracy.
Domestically, the Egyptian regime is offering us comic parliamentary elections, where all NDP party won the majority of the seats, applauding the Muslim Brotherhood in the mass media for their good performance. Internationally, Egypt turns down an offer by the international community to help movements for change.
I want to get out of this hijacked plane or find a way change its direction where the sun and light are promised. I want this doomed plane to be changed with a new crew. I want the hijackers to leave. Passengers in a hijacked plane have little to say.
I have some pictures that I would like to share with you from Wednesday parliamentary comedy. I have hard time downloading them here though I ll keep trying though.