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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Monday, August 15, 2005

"We are not corrupt, we are culturally sensitive"

The Egyptian government officials seem to be holding an insider contest on who can make the most "laugh-inducing" statement in regards to the upcoming "election". This week's topic: International Monitoring of the elections. But Egypt's government opposes the presence of outside monitors, claiming the people would object because of the country's sensitivity to its colonial past. Ahh, so people would go and see foreigenrs standing at the polls and they will start screaming "The red coats are coming. Grab your guns!" and then attack them? Yes, I can see that happening! Then you have Osama El Baz's reaction: Osama el-Baz, a long-time adviser to Mubarak, said accepting international monitors would infringe upon Egypt's sovereignty. "Our neutrality is not under doubt," el-Baz said in comments published on Saturday. Note again, that the person who is saying "Our neutrality is not under doubt" is a long-time advisor to Mubarak. That's what they call Chutzpah. and then you have Mr. Nazif, our un-elected PM, who says that no international monitors will be necessary, since the press is gonna be covering the elections. "But, of course, the election will be monitored by the international media and it will be watched also by NGOs, people working in the country," Nazief told CNN's Late Edition programme. I am sure the media will be allowed to ride next to the ballot boxes and the vote count as well, right? The sad thing, Osama El Baz is also spouting that same talking point memo bullshit: "The press are gonna be there. They will monitor it. It's not like we would do something illegal with the press around or anything. Otherwise they would take our pictures, and write slamming Op-Ed pieces that would give us severe depressions and infringe on the joy we experience from robbing this country. And since we know that those media Kill-Joys can't be bought or anything, we are bound to behave ourselves. We swear!" Sigh..


At 8/20/2005 10:29:00 PM, Blogger Stacey said...

So, I'm with you on the fundamental laughability of the WAY these guys have framed this. But having been in Lebanon this spring - when they had their first monitored, post-Syrian elections - I can verify that the international monitors were a HUGE problem from a public opinion standpoint.

Now, a couple of important things are different: There is a much more independent (print) media in Lebanon, international parties have highly vested interests in the outcomes (this is probably true in Egypt, too, but it is more veiled), and local monitors were undermined by foreign interests, as well.

I'm actually not sure that foreign monitors are a good idea - I think it does just fuel antagonism at a popular level (even if not among the political elite). In Yemen right now, ahead of its own Presidential election, there is a lot of talk about transparency, but a clear sense that the requisite demonstrations of good will need to come from the top, since the top is the source of the problem.

I don't know...all of this is predicated on the premise that the Big Man even intends to share political space at all.

At 8/21/2005 10:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure foreign monitors are a good idea either, but for the opposite reason: they're push-overs. The international monitors didn't seem to stop the blatant vote-buying by Saad Hariri and everyone else during the Lebanese elections. I'd rather there be no stamp of approval on this soon to be pathetic excuse for an election.


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