Mr President, Whoever You Are, Beware the Egyptian People

I think I’ve figured out who I will vote for as Egypt’s next president. I’m not happy about my choice. I wouldn’t be happy about any choice I made. I’m not happy about the candidates I have to choose from.

I looked through most of the candidates’ programs. The conclusion I came to was: lots of pages of nice words. They seemed to me to be rather similar in their promises. They all say they want good for Egypt. Good for them.

But what do I want? What I am looking for? I want someone I can trust to clean the State from bureaucracy and corruption. I want someone I can trust to bring to justice any wrong-doers from the previous regime and its various arms. I want someone I can trust to re-vamp our police and security forces. I want someone I can trust to sensitively and smartly deal with our Armed Forces. I want someone I can trust to initiate an inclusive process that will give us a constitution that will protect all our rights and that we can all be proud.

For the next four years, I’m really not bothered about the environment, education, scientific research, health-care, etc. At this stage, those are luxuries. I want a president who will know how to get our countrymen focused on building the pillars upon which we can have all those and more. And those pillars, in my opinion, are building the constitution and providing security and justice. Give me those over the next four years and I will be proud of what you have done.

I really don’t care who wins these elections as long as we get those things as a result. If the person I vote for wins, I will not be jumping up and down, feeling all-victorious. If the person I vote for wins, I’ll more than likely have the same feeling of foreboding I have right now. If the person I vote for wins, I will be watching him like a hawk and I will be his harshest critic.

These first presidential elections are very difficult for everyone in Egypt. In addition to our collective feeling of responsibility, I am keenly aware of a very personal burden: it’s as if the future of my whole country rests on my shoulders.

Most people I know have been going through a long period of anxiety and stress because of this feeling. It took a lot for us to reach this stage. So many of us risked our lives for us to get here. And so many lost theirs. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to take this process forward. We all dream of a country we can be proud of, of a country we feel safe in, of a country we feel free in.

The next president of Egypt will not be our savior. The Egyptian people are our savior. We are our own savior.

So, you there, person who will end up winning this vote, be very careful about your first steps as president. We will be watching you.

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3 comments

  1. I voted and I want to cry, still worried. :( But have decided to hope for the best, hope that we get inclusion and first steps towards being able to build a better Egypt. :)

  2. I feel exactly the same. Whoever wins, I’ve decided I belong in the opposition. Whether he is my candidate or not, I will be in the opposition.

    No one should ever feel comfortable in that position again. They should be doubting their future in it every single day.

    I don’t agree with you that education and healthcare and science research are luxuries at this stage. These are the foundations of the pillars you talk about. Without a solid education we will not be able to have that renaissance that will bring about security and prosperity to people. Without healthcare, we will not have healthy individuals working to build these pillars. And without science research, we will not be able to stand up to any of the forces that will be working to bring down those pillars.

    We need a holistic approach. It is scary, but we need to know we are building up our state in the 21st century. Other patterns from the past may not be adequate for today. We will need to carve out our own path. This is scary – but equally exciting for me.

    Life will never be the same again for me. But I’m happy it won’t be.

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