Pay it Forward and Pay it Back!
So now what? I keep asking myself that question ever since the preliminary results of the election came out. The news reports confirm that Mubarak , as expected, won by a landslide in an election that only 22.5% of the registered voters were able to vote. The battle was lost; the man is with us all for another 6 years, whether we like it or not. The only questions is: what are we going to do now? Well, the way I see it, we have a number of options: We could 1) Run over to the Mubarak camp and start congratulating the winner and kissing up to him; 2) We could throw our hands back in frustration and join the absolute majority of Egyptians who do nothing except bitch and moan about how bad things are, but never really do anything about it; 3) We could lick our wounds, say that it's all hopeless and plot our escape from this sinking ship; or 4) We could start preparing for the next battle. Those are our only options: Kiss up, give up, run-away or prepare for war. We do not get a 5th one. Now, I am not a big fan of option # 1 as anyone who reads my blog would know. I am a little blunt, ill-mannered, rudely outspoken, and prone to telling people exactly what I think of them, so it's not like I really have a choice in that matter. Option #2 sucks as well, because it doesn’t really get you anywhere. You would just be a waste of oxygen and space, alive but not really living, and that does not appeal to me in any way. I mean, come on, seriously, what am I going to do then? Watch Sitcoms, buy little gadgets to make me feel happy and eat at McDonalds for the rest of my life? Screw that! I can’t do it! Not this Sandmonkey. This leaves us with 2 options: Either run-away or Fight back. Flight or Fight. I would be lying if I didn't say that running away is the most appealing option, or admit that I have been preparing for it for quite some time now, cause I have been. It's the smartest and safest of all the options, but now is not the time for it. Now is the time to fight back. Someone will surely tell me: "Well how do you propose to do that, Mr. Smarty pants? The election is over. Mubarak already won. We lost that battle!" To them I say: yeah, we lost that battle, but we didn’t lose the War. There is a more important battle that's coming up in 2 months and it's one that I know we could win. And yes, I am talking about the Parliamentary elections. The Parliamentary elections are in November, which also happens to be that magic month where the government allows people to obtain Voter registration cards, provided they apply for them. This is not like the Presidential election, where it was a huge fight over one seat; In this election there are 444 seats that could be contested in the Upper House alone. That's 444 different elections, and we are still not counting the 222 seats in the lower house or the municipal elections. Those are all happening in November, and are a lot harder to control and forge then the Presidential elections. It's a completely different ballgame and one that we can win. All that we would need is to get the people involved. We need to get them to go and register to vote, get a voting card and on voting day get them to vote. It doesn’t matter who they would vote for, they can pick whichever candidate or party they want, as long as it's not the NDP candidate. A large enough turnout would limit the NDP's ability to forge the election, if not prevent it completely, and it would give the Opposition parties a percentage that's higher then the mandatory 5% that they need to be able to run in the next presidential election. Plus, it would create an NDP purge in the Parliament, thus making sure that they don't get to dominate the debate or get away with the shit that they usually get away with. The Opposition would become a real opposition, one that will hold the president and the ruling party accountable for their actions. In short, you can effectively make their lives hell. The Question posed by the-negative-realists-who-never-do-anything then becomes: "Well, that's wonderful in theory and all, but how could you convince your people to go out and vote?" They then, with the smug smile of People–in–the–know, continue informing you exactly why you are wasting your time: "The Egyptian people are cowards, they are negative, and they are ignorant. You need to educate them first. You can't do that in 2 months!" That's true! I can't do that in 2 months, not without your help! In order for this to work, everyone has to sign on. It has to be a grassroots effort, below the government's radar, that aims to mobilize the largest amount of voters possible and it has to be an independent initiative started by individuals like you and me. We can not wait on the opposition parties to get the bigger or more organized or get gutsier in their recruitment initiatives. We have to seek them out, help them become bigger, and influence their thinking and methods so that they can appeal to more voters. "All of that is beautiful and all", I can hear you groan, "But how can we do it?" Ok, this may sound strange so you may just have to follow me till the end here, but remember the movie Pay it forward? If you don’t or haven’t seen it, it's a movie about a kid that started a movement of doing good deeds: You do a good deed to 3 strangers, on the condition that they each do a good deed to 3 other strangers with the same condition, and so on and so forth. To basically pay the good deed forward, while multiplying it by 3 every single time. It's a cute little film. Anyway… The Point is, you can use that same method when it comes to the November vote: All you have to do is to each convince 3 different people today to go get their voter registration cards and come November to vote for anyone who is not NDP. You also ask them to each approach 3 different people and convince them to participate, get voter registration cards, vote for anyone but NDP come November, and convince 3 other people to do the same. That's it! That's all you have to do. Pay it forward, so we can PAY THE NDP BACK for ruining our country by kicking their candidates out of parliamentary office. It really is that simple. I already convinced a Taxi driver and 2 of my fiends, and I am not stopping there. I will talk and try to convince anyone who will listen. But you don’t have to do that. All you have to do is to convince 3 people. That's all I ask from you. The reason why I care so much about this is simple: If we don’t do this now, our country will be lost to the powers of chaos for the next 6 years, and I am not just talking about increased corruption or unemployment. I am talking about a full bloody war that will take place if the status quo remains the way it is. What? You think I am exaggerating? I wish I was! All I know is this, there are 2 ways to change a country: the Ballot or the Bullet. Ever since the Nasser take-over democracy was taken away from us as an option, and that was ok, because at least we always had the hope that we would have it one day. We never had it, so we knew that the day we would have it, we would finally be able to rule ourselves and our country. Now, with the way this democratic election took place, that hope is dead. This election, with its rules for the next elections, made sure that democracy in Egypt became nothing but a meaningless hollow concept, and that no change will ever be allowed to take place. The People of Egypt understand that. They will believe that peaceful change is now out of the question, that Mubarak aims to really give the rule to Gamal and is not content with leaving Egypt alone even after his death; that the regime will continue with the same modus operandi and nothing will ever get better or improve. Their hope for any kind of future will die, and it will be replaced with resentment and rage. With the Ballot no longer an option, they will resort to the Bullet. Violence will be the only choice they have left and they will eventually resort to it. Don't kid yourself by saying that this won’t happen. It will. It already is happening in Sinai and it will only get worse from there. How long do you think they will be able to keep this up? How long do you think before the average Egyptian will resort to violence or crime to feed his kids? For how much longer do you think the Center will hold? If people lose all hope then it won’t be long. If this country, if any of us, is to have a future, we have to change things now. We have to upset the balance of Power, make the game a little fair and ensure that the next election isn’t played by the same rules as this one. This is only possible if we change the people in the Parliament, and that's only possible if we vote them out and bring the opposition in. Just get a voting card, convince 3 people to do the same, and go and vote the day of the elections. It really is that simple. The stakes are as high as they are going to get people. Please, I beg you all, don’t let this country down. It's now or never! Be Heroes!