Monday, November 28, 2011

Initiation in elections

Yesterday, 28/11/11, was a big day for Egypt and for me. I participated in my first elections, not only as a voter, but as an observer from inside. It was a great experience and I'm really happy with it. Here is an account of what I had witnessed in this historical day.

It all started this morning, I went as many others to the school were I should vote. I was standing in the row in front of the class where my polling station is, with around 15 persons in front of me. It was already 8am but the voting didn't start. I was talking with the people around me in the row, neighbors in the area I had never met before. The time was passing by but still waiting for the opening, then the judge came to us and asked if anyone would like to volunteer as an observer since they needed at least one additional person for this job (as representative parties) to be able to start the voting process. Since I like that kind of things, I volunteered and I found myself sitting inside all day :). It was great cos i got to see the whole thing, from the judge to the employees passing of course by the voters.

The judge is the first person I would really salute. He was almost doing everything inside the classroom. Starting from ensuring that everything is done according to the laws to helping voters if they have some difficulties while voting. He was not resting a single moment except when the classroom is closed at prayer times. He was very patient with all, and very helpful. And really almost all the time not resting a minute, giving orders to the voters, helping them, putting papers in the ballots.
I was surprised to know the committee inside were present at the place from 2-3am. They were very professional, giving instructions only on how to vote without talking about any of the candidates.

Around 700 voters, all women, came to the polling station were I was (it was serving to ballots). Most of them were voting for the first time and were happy of it. The majority came with a small card offered by the party of MB (Freedom and Justice) with the number of the polling station and their number in the list. It was a new trick to gather more supporters offering them help, as clever as always.

I was deeply touched by old people coming to vote for the first time in their life, happy and telling us God bless you. Children coming with their mothers/grandmothers and asking to have their finger dipped in the ink. Some didn't know for whom to vote for, some convinced with their selections, others just voting for the candidates who cared for them.

The only thing i really regret in all that, seeing many people who didn't know at all what's the voting process or what are the parties. This means that we failed to teach them about their rights. We failed to reach for them and help them understand. We are all blamed for that as it is our responsibility to help the less fortunate and less educated.
Still, I am very optimistic for the future of out country whatever the result will be. We are all still learning the a b c of elections. We might fail at some point but this won't stop us to be better. The happiness I saw, the eagerness and satisfaction was beyond my expectations. This positive feeling was spreading so quickly between everybody. Yes, Egypt is still and will always be great by its own people wherever they are.

God bless Egypt!

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