Thursday, September 08, 2005

Election Adventure

My initial decision for today was to stay home and watch the coverage of the elections on TV.
But that plan changed when mom thought of going to check the polling stations around the house, the streets will be relatively empty, so no big deal just for 10 minutes. And it was fine by me. Why watch it on TV when you can watch it in real life?

Got dressed and went to the nearest school. There there was approximetly 7 men searching in lists for their names. Didn't seem crowded at all. One of the officers standing at the door looked at my mom and me and told us that this is an men only polling station and there is a women's at The english school, El Tabari and Lycee La Lyberte. We went to The English School, the nearest to my house.

There it was a circus. Two big buses and a mini bus brought women to this school to vote to Mobarak of course. They had Mobarak stickers on their galabeyas.
They were standing in a group on the school yard and a man was standing 2 steps higher inside the school's building. This man was holding those pink voting cards. They seemed brand new and he was calling names. I understood what was going on. Theses cards belonged to those women, they appered to being just printed for them. Those women were forced to vote (to Mobarak) with cards that they didnt ask for. And guess what they got in return? Juice. No money, food or even viagra like other people. Just juice. Poor women.

Everything I mentioned above is documented by photoes. But being the low tech person that I am, I don't have a digital camers. So as soon as I print and scan my pictures, they will appear on this blog.

I asked the man in charge if I can vote with only my ID like they said on TV. He gave me a look that said "not this question again" and actually said "Don't believe everything you read in the papers. My orders are to only let people vote if they have their voting cards and that's it. If you want to, you can go to the police station and ask there".

Then this simple looking around became an interesting adventure. We went to the police station 2esm el nozha. The guy on the door guided us to a room. A very crowded room. Only those born between 1982 and 1986 can have their voting card today, there was a good deal of young people in the room wanting to get their voting cards, mostly girls to my delight and surprise, and almost equally muslims and christians. Others were older folks who already have thir voting cards but don't know exactly where to vote. Interesting, I thought, people actually want to vote.

And then the big shock came. You get your voting card from where you were born not from where you live. And mind you I was born in Maadi. And Maadi is far away from Heliopolis. I know nothing in Maadi and neither does my mom, and certainly I don't know where the Maadi police station is.

I looked at mom and she looked back at me and we both decided to go to Maadi. At this moment our adventure became a quest. And I decided I won't return home untill my finger has this yuky red stuff on it.

In Maadi after alot of wrong turns and getting lost we arrived to the police atation. There I went to look for my name. Crowded as expected. And the big surprise, my name isn't registered. By then mom was furious, she started to shout and asked to talked to whoever is incharge of this station.
And we got in. There we found that the hospital I was born in isn't in the Maadi area but rather El Basatin. Which is a working class area of Cairo.

Only then my racism surfaced, I refused to go to Elbasatin, although mom was for it. "I'm not going to be pushed around in a basatin police station, did you see what the people looked like in heliopolis and maadi and they're supposed to be high class neighbourhoods. Nope this is where I draw the line. I want to go home".

Still, everyone in the family is proud of my quest. Although my fingers are clean. I can say I tried, did my best and don't mind going to elbasatin some other time before november elections to be able to vote then.


Blogger Mohamed said...

Cheers for the adventure.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Egyptian Person said...

Thanks for sharing that. I will look forward to those photos.

10:05 AM  
Blogger The Sandmonkey said...

Good for you!

2:27 PM  
Blogger Eve said...

Thank you

12:41 AM  
Blogger Me4Prez said...

I take the American system for granted I guess. As flawed as it is, when I went to the wrong polling place before, the correct one was only 6 blocks away. I admire as hard as you tried, most Americans don't vote if they have to drive down the street

11:28 PM  
Anonymous anGelium said...

WOW! what a day!! quite interesting but exhausting though! i could imagine driving all the way from helioplis to maadi and get nothin in return! i honestly can't blame u, at least u tried... (*thumbs up*)

2:48 PM  

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