The elections are a complete farce.
Nothing about this is legitimate.
SCAF derive their legitimacy from Mubarak, who was deposed and had no legitimacy to confer on anybody, and then they augment their so-called legitimacy through the use of the 2011 referendum, which wasn’t about their legitimacy to start with, then they release a constitutional declaration that includes more than 50 articles that nobody had ever seen before, and didn’t vote on. It is on this flimsy basis, that we got a parliament elected in, despite the fact that it’s very existence defies a couple of laws.
NOW – SCAF plan to ‘amend’ the constitutional declaration TWO days before presidential elections, which they legally cannot even do without holding another referendum, which means that either the changes are even more illegitimate than the declaration they’re meant to amend, or that SCAF will pretend that the elections are a de-facto referendum on the new amendments.
Meanwhile, we’re voting while the country is technically in a state of emergency and under emergency law – and we’re ostensibly doing this as part of a democratic process while thousands are detained by military court.
Here we are, running towards elections, sprinting towards elections! A people gasping for breath, a people once subdued by Mubarak’s neck-choking economic policies now sent into a desperate electoral spiral by his military generals – all in the name of democracy…
We are gripped with fear and desperation, a people looking for old wizened heroes when our only heroes are the young, and by now – many of them, thousands of them are dead – killed by the same military machine that is now herding us towards the election committees, distracting us with electoral advertising, billboards bigger than the sun, blacking out our skylines, asking us to once again trust the generals and their process, asking us to vote, asking us to believe that we have the power to vote in a president whose main task would be to fight the very generals whose control we seek to escape!
The candidates, seeking power, are all too pleased to play into the delusion, all too pleased to give us hope, offer us promises they know they have no power to fulfill. Their presidential programs growing in size and detail, in proportion to their degree of delusion – they all believe they have a chance!
It’s a democratic process, they say – as though thousands of our best have not been killed in battle against the very powers that hold the keys to the entire process, as though the military dictatorship that holds us all hostage does not also hold thousands of Egyptians in jails, after quickly rushing them through the mockery of justice that they refer to as Military Trials. Many of us are spent, many of us are tired, many of us are broke, and it on this that they count, that in weakness, we will grasp hard on to the thinnest of straws – that we will abandon our hopes for freedom and willingly reduce ourselves to serfdom; that given us a choice between a long drawn-out battle, or the security of slavery, we will relinquish our hopes, abandon our dreams, forget the martyrs whose very mention now draws forth both cynicism and skepticism and take what they offer, run after the miniscule concessions they throw our way – because we have lost hope – because we fear a Libya, or worse, a Syria.
So they offer us tiny choices, tiny choices tailored for tiny people, and in honor of such abundant little-ness, I will start at the pettiest and move on in an arbitrary fashion…
In their arrogance, they offer us Shafiq, who is proud to be part of the old regime, whose every word is a betrayal of our ambitions, who promises that ‘when’ he wins, the army will be ready to crush any who protest his victory – an unstoppable snake, climbing his symbolic ladder. Shafiq is the man Mubarak signed on to try to calm us down. He is the man who was Prime Minister when the camels attacked us in Tahrir. He is the man who sat there, looking half-tipsy and slumped in his chair as he claimed that it was rude of Alaa El Aswany to talk back to him. Shafiq is the man who claimed he had both killed and been killed. He is SCAF’s Zombie, and all he has ever offered us is ‘bonbons’.
“There’s a snake lurking in the grass.” – Virgil
Basking in his own arrogance, we have Moussa, an old man who believes his time has come, and is hungry for power. A has-been, never quite-was foreign minister who doesn’t know the difference between an Islamic country and an Arab one, who seems to think Iran is both – a man whose manners exist mostly on camera and quickly disappear off it. Moussa is the illiterate man’s hero. His glory was eternalized when the Egyptian pop-singer Sha’aban Abdel Reheem wrote the now infamous lyrics ‘I love Amr Moussa / and hate Israel’ – and, of course, much like General Fangary, Moussa loves his finger.
“Some weasel took the cork out of my lunch.” – W.C. Fields
Known as AF to his fans, AMAF to the journalists and Chameleon to the wise, Aboul Fotouh is the man of many faces. To those of us who read comics, he is known as Metamorpho, or The Martian Manhunter, although, considering she can change her apparent gender, he might as well be known as Mystique. Aboul Fotouh is a cosmic Rorschach in whom everybody sees whatever their heart most desires! To Salafi’s he’s a Salafi! To Liberals he’s a Liberal! To Democrats, he’s a Democrat! His powers of mimesis are so powerful; I would not be surprised to find anarchists who consider him an anarchist.
“A chameleon does not leave one tree until he is sure of another.” – Arabian Proverb
Hamdeen Sabahi, Bastawisi, & Abu Al-Izz Al-Hariri
It is only fair to lump these three together since they themselves have chosen to lump themselves together. Hamdeen is the biggest star of the triumvirate. Hamdeen is a self-confessed Nasserist who was born in Kafr Al-Sheikh.
The best thing that can be said about Sabahi is that he is the one who has least pissed off even the most radical of revolutionaries. The worst thing about Hamdeen is that he is a Nasserist. The cognitive conundrum around Hamdeen is simple to explain; he is counted as being the most revolution-friendly candidate because unlike many, his alliance with Bastawisi and Hariri brings us the closest to the Civil Council that we had all hoped we’d have back in the day when roses were red, Mubarak was in bed, and SCAF had not yet turned us all into Jell-O.
The problem with Hamdeen, once again, because it bears repetition – is that he is a Nasserist, and it was Nasser who put us in this military mess we find ourselves in today. It was Nasser who effectively transformed Egypt into the military dictatorship that is it now, and it was under Nasser that we had our first ever military trials in which two teenagers were sentenced to death.
“All of you are Gamal Abdel Nasser!” – Nasser
Morsy is the backup man. He is the spare tire. He is, paradoxically, the Muslim Brotherhood’s proof that they have a ‘program’ and not a man. The main problem with Morsy is that, technically, by being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, he is effectively in a cult. His position in the cult is subservient to the leader of the so-called Guidance Office, and is therefore, in actuality, already a puppet.
The good thing about Morsy is that he comes with a ready-made constitution, since the Brotherhood clearly state that the Quran is their constitution. Followers of the Brotherhood consider Morsy to have been chosen by God to lead Egypt. First God chose Khairat El Shater, but God has Time-Warping, Reality-Changing Tipex at his disposal, and can click undo as many times as he wants.
Morsy also has the unbearable burden of inevitability to carry, since God cannot lose elections, even if they are conducted by SCAF.
“By obedience, I mean full compliance with the commands of the leadership.” – Hassan Al-Banna
Yes, there are others. Right there, under that rock.
Every time you vote, you vote for SCAF.