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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 22, 2005

Will we have a debate?

One of the things I hoped to see in this year's election is a presidential debate between the leading candidates. It would've really tickeld my fancy to see Mubarak up there actually defending his record, altough i knew that any kind of objective debate would've been impossible. Still, I wanted one for one reason: To bring down the view of the president from Demi-god to public servant. Let me explain Egyptians have a habit of making Gods out of their rulers: They are never questioned and never held accountable and Mubarak plays that same tune. He is Mubarak, the man of war and hero of peace, the leader, the hope for the future, the larger than life President whom we are most fortunate to have and who can never be replaced by any other mere mortal. This wouldn't be the case in a debate: He would be just a man, standing next 2 men who do not agree with him and who think they can do a better job than he has been doing. It's hard to explain this to any reader who lives in a democracy and who is used to such a debate, but over here, the psychological impact of such an image would be huge. Egyptians would never look at the President of Egypt that same way again. It would've been great. But , of course, it's not going to happen, because Mubarak's campaign manager wunderkid Mohamed Kamal said that a debate is out of the question: "It's very complicated to have a debate among 10 candidates. We haven't seen that anywhere in the world," he said. Really? Someone missed the democratic primaries in 2003/04 it seems. But hey, who said all 10 candidates? How about just Mubarak, Ayman Nour and Nouman Gomaa, the Wafd Party candidtae. Those are the top 3 candidates anyway. It's not very complicated to have a 3-parties debate, now is it? I think it's very telling that they refuse to debate, even more telling then their desire not to have international observers. But what do I know?


At 8/22/2005 05:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 8/22/2005 09:03:00 AM, Anonymous American Sandmonkey said...

You nailed it on the head my Egyptian Sandmokey brother. When I moved to the States 7 years ago at the hype of the Monika Lewinsky scandal, I was amazed that Jay Leno and other talk show hosts could take such stabs at their president. I was shocked to see the president of the USA being made fun of on national TV. Where's the respect? I thought to myself of course based on what I grew up observing. As Egyptians we dig the Pharaoh concept. One god in heaven, and another one on earth. In a way it puts our minds at ease. After all we're just humans and we leave god's work to god. That way if he f@#ks it up, well, he's a god and he must have his reasons. I mean look at the daily government papers, they must have at least a picture of him. Of course a picture that's 20 years old where he looks youthful and strong. Exactly like the ancients depicted the Pharaoh with his perfectly toned muscular body. They have to sing his praise everyday, brainwashing everybody that he is after all above humans. So, as you said a debate with a normal human being will totally destroy that godly image.

At 8/22/2005 01:39:00 PM, Blogger Jarrett said...

Hi Sandmonkey,

Great to read something from a non-American, non-Canadian perspective.

I don't mean to treat it just as an academic problem, but the idea of how to run a candidates' debate like so is an interesting one, especially in a country such as Egypt.

If it's any comfort, we have the same problem in Canada. We have probably a dozen parties or so, but only four hold seats. That being said, though, there was a whole uproar about whether or not a fifth party, the Green Party, could participate in the debate. They weren't allowed to and were told that when they got 5% of the popular vote, they could. So the election came and they got something like 5.1% of the vote.

So, in short, even we haven't figured it out yet.

At 8/22/2005 09:33:00 PM, Blogger nouille said...

Excellent blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep it up!


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