Opinion

Why Egyptians who boycott the elections are not ‘traitors’

Why Egyptians who boycott the elections are not ‘traitors’
An Egyptian voter heads to the poll with an Egyptian flag wrapped around him. Credit: AP
An Egyptian voter heads to the poll with an Egyptian flag wrapped around him. Credit: AP

Many have been falsely accusing others of negativity illogically and unreasonably with zero knowledge of why some have decided to boycott the elections. I believe boycotting is the correct decision and have decided to support them, so before you start calling me سلبي (passive), read what I have to say.

I am not boycotting because I no longer care about Egypt’s future or because I am convinced that nothing will change, but rather because it contradicts my principles.

We have been presented with two candidates and I believe that none of them is capable or worthy of ruling Egypt. I have a responsibility when it comes to elections – and it doesn’t revolve around sheer participation.

The man I vote for may become Egypt’s president for the next four years, and if I have the slightest of doubts regarding his ability to manage the country and yet vote for him, I’ll be one of those to blame if the day comes and he fails. Neither of these men, in my opinion, can help Egypt take a step forward for the first time since the 25th of January revolution. I refuse to be forced into a situation where I must choose “the least harmful option.”

“Spoiling the vote would be if we approved the elections but the candidates are not up to our expectations and we don’t agree with the process.”Ahmed Imam, official spokesman for “Strong Egypt” Party.

Egyptians have voted ‘yes’ for the new constitution a few months ago, although many criticized the increased power it gives to our military. <any chose to overlook these controversial articles for the sake of “progress” and because the new constitution was “overall good.”

But why didn’t we call for amendments? Our low expectations are keeping us where we are, preventing us from building the new and improved country we’ve been dreaming of for years.

We have stopped our pursuit for freedom in exchange for safety – and that should not be the case. Instead of compromising a right for another, we should be looking for a man who will prioritize our demands and serve to provide both rights, not give up one for another.

Invalidating votes: a voter chooses Game of Throne's star Arya Stark for President
Invalidating votes: a voter chooses Game of Throne’s star Arya Stark for President

The last time we rushed to elect a candidate

The last time Egyptians decided to rush into electing a president, we ended up with Mohamed Morsi, and the rest is history. We’ve wasted a year of our lives under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood because we “needed” a president back then. We are repeating the same mistake once again. Some voted for Morsi just because he wasn’t felool, and this trade-off resulted in us witnessing unrest over the following year.

This isn’t a governmental position that provides us with the time and luxury to experiment in and try out someone who may turn out to be a decent leader. No, it isn’t worth the risk especially when the lives of others depend on it. Nor is it worth the risk of electing an unfit candidate and granting him these powers, knowing that there is a great chance he may fail and only make things worse.

No one has so far managed to convince me of the difference between boycotting and invalidating votes, because both have the same effect. If we really wanted to make use of invalid votes and send a message through them, we should have created a rule where the winner must surpass both the candidates and invalid votes in terms of percentages, forcing us to repeat the presidential elections once more until a suitable candidate is found and agreed upon. But that rule does not exist.

My decision to boycott does not convey by any means signs of negativity simply because I know what I have to do when either of them wins. I know what is expected of me as an Egyptian. So even though I have my differences with both candidates as when it comes to the man’s ethics or his capability of rescuing a country like ours, I do know one thing: if either of them, after winning, manages to prove me wrong and presents me ideas, projects, and opportunities that will help lead us all towards the right path, I will support him.

I will not criticize either of them for the sake of criticizing like many did with Morsi. For as long as they are trying to help, I will not stand in the way. And that is what it should come down to in the end. For if we truly care about our country and aim to be on top of the world once again, the winner of these presidential elections should not alter our thoughts or plans. Everything we do should be to improve other’s lives and help those struggling get back on their feet, not to discredit either candidate.

Our goal is not to help a candidate succeed. Our goal is to help Egypt rise.

A scratched out photograph of former President Hosni Mubarak hangs at a polling station. Credit: Reuters
A scratched out photograph of former President Hosni Mubarak hangs at a polling station. Credit: Reuters

What really matters in the end

It no longer matters if you choose to boycott, vote for El-Sisi, vote for Hamdeen, or invalidate your vote, because it is your attitude following the results that matters. Most of us agree that Morsi had to go and that he was only worsening our situation, and I strongly agree with this, but how many of us actually tried to help during his reign? How many of us were open to working hard back then?

That is why Sabahi and Al-Sisi have been stressing how important it is for all of us to collaborate. A president without support will surely fail no matter who he is, and that is why we need to modify our mentality before a new era starts. We need to put aside our political differences and build together, because our imaginary super-president that can remodel Egypt on his own does not exist.

We can already predict the winner and it has been clear for a while now, and I don’t like it. But true negativity comes from blocking progress, even if I have been provided with a chance to help, not from boycotting elections that feature two unfit candidates.

True negativity comes from ignoring the call of duty when you are most needed. The new president will demand hard work and commitment so we can move forward. So, despite the fact that I may not support the winner politically, I am required to put my opinion of him aside and act professionally.

Before you blame and criticize others for their decisions, talk to them and give them a chance to explain their choices. Ask them why they’re refusing to choose one candidate over the other, and stop throwing the word سلبي(passive) around.

You have the right to believe that participation is necessary, but others also have the right to choose to boycott. Isn’t that why we asked for democracy? Don’t accuse those who started it all and are the reason why you are finally able to participate in elections in the first place of negativity. Don’t accuse them of disloyalty or of being traitors, for without them there would have been no elections to start with.

Both candidates realize that failure will result in their departure, but I hope that none of us will turn out to be the one that tries to ruin their chances and attempts to help, if they exist, just because of personal political views.

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  • Sara

    I can respect your reasoning, but I don’t see why you feel both are unfit, and it seems that was a central premise in your argument. Perhaps elaborating on that would have helped.

  • Andrew Grandee

    Morsi on the advise of M.B.,started by creating problem for himself..he seemed to be positioning to fight political war,and that wouldn’t have birthed a real democratic government,,,he was especially sectarian lacking religious tolerance and a true democrat must have tolerance as one of basic features or characteristics..a tree does not make a forest”
    if the people would patiently support the president elect,and if the president elect would form a sect-free,and inclusive government,there would be transformation,there would be restoration,there would be security,there would be freedom and understanding,there would be unity,peace and love among the people,,,,””’

  • Bystanding Witness

    @ Biff Jay
    “He actually tried to do some good things, but the people were also roadblocks in the way of progress.”
    Oh yes? What exactly … except that he put everywhere his “Brothers”, blocked any development, started giving away Egyptian soil (South and East), wanted to make women invisible, etc. One heck of a progress I must say! The only thing he was good at was providing constant embarassment for Egypt and it’s people like:
    – playing with his private parts in front of the female Australian PM
    – displaying his utter ignorance in English although he claims to have gotten his Phd in the US!!!
    and so on; the list is endless!
    Yes – “Gas and Alcohol don’t mix” … which translates to “Egyptians and Muslim Brotherhood don’t mix”

  • Pingback: Why Egyptians who boycott the elections are not ‘traitors’ – Egyptian Streets | Lumos()

  • Biff Jay

    Why wasn’t this same attitude OK for Morsi, but it is for Sisi? Lets be honest, as ineffective as Morsi was, the people certainly didn’t help either. He actually tried to do some good things, but the people were also roadblocks in the way of progress. Morsi may have been a failure, but the people also didn’t make it very easy for him to be a success either. He was walking against the wind from day 1. I mean Hamdeen Sebahy was calling for new elections literally as soon as Morsi was elected.

Opinion
@yawwad11

A nineteen-year-old Egyptian hoping to influence the world through his writing. Seeking perfection in every aspect of life. http://www.youssefawwad.wordpress.com

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