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.