Saturday, April 21, 2007

Election Countdown

I have drafted an essay on the elections, but I don't seem to find it, so I will start from the beginning now there is one day to election of our new parliament.

I think I mentioned before that it isn't my intent to write here about politics, but as this is an internal affair that affects me, at least indirectly, and directly if I go vote, then I will write about it as a part of the experience.

A background is necessary at first. I don't know what our parliament does, or who the candidates are. And here are the facts: I have been here two years now, almost, and I only saw the parliament once, and that is when they all stood up to insult and attack Abdul Halim Khaddam (former vice president) after his betrayal to the government and Syrian leadership. And despite the fact that I don't mind that (am not a big fan of the latter), but I don't want the only thing I know about my parliament, or my representatives, to be that. Or just to say yes and nod to every regulation presented to them.

Now, I know only four parliament members for the following reason. The first I met in a gathering and he is a representative of my town. The second I know about because he is a doctor previously representing a once not-so-welcomed party (by the government) but now is a part of the Progressive National Front (NPF). The third is the only parliament member who have ever been on TV, and probably the only one who can intelligently speak in front of it without using the same phrases we learned at school in the subject of Qawmiyeh (I have no foreign equivalent for that). And by the way, it's not local TV where I see this guy. The forth and the last, is the parliament president, and I know who he is because by mistake I and a friend of mine sat on 'his table' at a certain bar restaurant. Needless to say, we had to move our asses to a more convenient table.

So with all this introduction, I feel that my true parliament representatives are the Lebanese March 8 group (who I know almost all there members).

Now, at the beginning of this electoral period candidates had to advertise and sell themselves. And to mention a couple of things first, no candidate enters a debate with another, simply because they are not like the US for example where every district has no more than 3 candidates (independent, democrat, and republican) but they are against virtually all the others. And the second thing, you can hardly know what is the electoral program for each candidate, it there is any. And when you can get to it and read it, it is usually about headlines (without details or the how and where and when), or it is about the same ideas in the school book I talked about, many of which are far reached and almost incoherent in a Utopian way. So it seems that people nominate themselves for one of three reasons: they want to be a parliament member for the sake of it (or its benefits, if any), they were told to do so, or they want a part of the 3 million they are entitled to (for advertising) free of interest for 10 years or so (at least this is what I heard).

The candidates are in two groups. A and B, in addition to independent and NPF. The latter is going to win by default, so they spend very little on advertising, and they don't need an electoral program, it is that of the government. At the beginning of the fever of advertising the city was transformed into something like a carnival place. Each candidate had his color, and banner would be over head in a way that affects driving definitely. Someone realized that it was against the law to do so, so all banners where moved sideways. Now it doesn't look like a carnival anymore, it looks like a bad mess. The only thing you can get from a banner is "I am nominated, vote for me". Then came the pictures phase, so there is "Men in Black" aka "قائمة الفيحاء" who definitely have, all six combined, spent more than there allocations as they have rented almost every single street ad place in Damascus. Now it almost looks like they are the only one. But to be fair, the quality of there ads is superb. But I am not voting for them for few reasons. First they have glue-posted an ad on the entrance of our building (which if I have the time, I can sue them according to item 51 of the electoral law, and they can face a week to a month in jail for that), and secondly, they have no women in the group and they give the impression that they are close to being religiously fundamental, and lastly these guys are like whales, financially which I don't like.

Then there is a candidate R.H with a big zit or something like it on the face, and above her picture it says بكرا أحلى "prettier tomorrow", I looked the next day and she wasn't any better, maybe a little worse. Another, M.S.M, have forgotten his clown nose and face colors and in one of the emails he was depicted (rightfully hilarious) as a singer in a third rated restaurant. And not far from being mixed with a singer in another restaurant is the journalist H.M. A famous director, K.M, must have found his lost childhood and started to use one color for each letter in his name. I am not sure why he did that, I think he couldn't find anything else to do to look different. And the list goes on. In some places candidates pictures get glued over each other, and in an attempt to remove all of them you get a mosaic picture for a couple or more of them.

You could tell who is serious about this election from those who aren't. and that is by the time their ads started to show on the streets. When by the end of the countdown you discover numerous names you haven't heard of or seen before, you're definitely in front of a loan seeker. The other are probably taking the matter more seriously.

I am not sure whether I will vote this year. I have never voted for anything before (except online), but I think I'll go, not because I am a good citizen, or my vote may make a difference (because despite everything, no one here believes that their vote counts, but that everything is preset). I'll go for the sake of the experience, and I probably know who I'll not vote for.

Addendum: Oh, and I forgot, there is the "true promise group الوعد الصادق", and I think there program is the free Shibaa Farms and the Lebanese prisoners.... I thoguht Nasrallah trademarked that slogan.


At Sun Apr 22, 01:35:00 AM GMT+3, Blogger GraY FoX said...

you know what
you changed the way i'm looking at this issue
your post will make me go for the sake of the experience as well :)

At Sun Apr 22, 05:44:00 AM GMT+3, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know who is mocking who in this post. You know the election is a jock, and you know you participation is not making a change because you do not believe neither in the election nor with the candidates. Are you going to witness the people feeling towards those people who will reside in the parliament and get back their share of the pie and everyone knows that they are punch of opportunist with no dignity nor principals. The country in bad need for change and they are competing for theft and racing to play the rule of “YES SIR”, it is a tragedy.


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