The Day of Presidential Elections: I Chose the Revolution

It is done. And I chose the revolution.

When the results of the first round of presidential elections came out, I blogged that I had decided to vote for the Muslim Brother (MB) candidate, Mohammed Morsi. It was a straightforward choice for me at the time. If I only had one of the two to choose from, I would not choose the man who belonged to the former regime. I left my home and my children and risked my life along with millions of others for 18 days to remove that regime. I would not bring it back again with my own two hands. I do not want the MB ruling my country. But I was going to bring them in and then watch them like a hawk. In an Arabic language video blog a few days later I said, “If the MB make one single mistake when they come into government, just wait and see how the Egyptian people will make the ‘day of their father black’ (an Egyptian saying meaning it will be a dark day for them).”

Between then and now, only a matter of days, many things have happened in Egypt. A second attempt was made to put together a committee that would draft Egypt’s constitution. The committee stunk of sectarianism. Then parliament was dissolved. We are in a country with no constitution and no parliament after we spent months going through a prolonged process to have both, which included people going to the polls. And we end up with neither.

I decided I will no longer take part in this farce of an election. I will not grant legitimacy to these elections.

Putting legitimacy aside, if that is even fathomable, neither candidate represents me.

I am the revolution. A man who represents Mubarak’s regime, Ahmed Shafik, does not represent me. I do not care for his promises of security. I know the kind of security Mubarak’s regime provides. That security threw thousands in jail for political reasons, tortured many, and killed thousands during Egypt’s uprising. That security kept millions in poverty. That security allowed corruption to prosper.

I am the revolution. A man who represents the Muslim Brotherhood does not represent me. I do not care for their political stupidity and inadequacy. I do not care for their religious self-righteousness.

I will not, with my own two hands, give legitimacy to these elections. I will not, with my own two hands, give legitimacy to Shafik. I will not, with my own two hands, give legitimacy to Morsi.

This morning, I woke up feeling nauseous. I wished this day had not come. This is not a “democratic wedding” as many will have you believe. This is not the democracy people died for. This is not the democracy we risked our lives for.

I sat in bed reading tweets and tweeting. I processed through my decision one last time. And suddenly I decided, let’s get up and get this sick thing done with. I threw on my clothes and looked up my poll station number one last time. I went into my bedroom and prayed to God, asking Him: If my decision to nullify my vote is in my best interests, then make it easy for me. And if my decision to nullify my vote is not in my best interests, then make it difficult for me.  This is a prayer Muslims often make to God when faced with difficult choices.

I left my house. I stomped into the street feeling angry. Very angry. These are not the elections I revolted for. The many people who stood up after the revolution claiming to represent me did not ask me before saying so. Those same people were splintered into many groups. They talked the talk. But they did not walk the walk. They did nothing to pull the country together. They did nothing to pull themselves together for a final stand against the remnants of the supposedly fallen regime. SCAF makes me feel sick. The remnants of the former regime make me feel sick. That’s what I expect of them. But those so-called revolutionary representatives, they make me feel sicker.

I angrily stomped into my polling station. There were no lines. I took my voting card. I placed an x in front of Shafik’s name. I placed an x in front of Morsi’s name. On the top of the paper I wrote in Arabic, “I will vote for neither. Down with military rule.”

I nullified my vote.

I have a choice. I chose the revolution.

I AM the revolution.

My revolution continues. The revolution continues.


  1. Here in America, the media presents a very simplistic view of the Egyptian elections. Thank you, Nadia, for your posts and tweets in English; you have helped me to learn more, and to keep Egypt in my thoughts each day. My heart is with you.

  2. Here in America, the media presents a very simplistic view of the Egyptian elections.

    Thank you, Nadia, for your tweets and posts in English; they have helped me to learn more and to keep Egypt in my thoughts each day.

    My heart is with you.

  3. I am remembering the unforgettable tour of Tahrir you gave me and four other visiting American last year on the 4th of July. I am thinking about the experiences you recounted and your high hopes for a bright future. This is a sad day for everyone who cares about democracy, and especially so for the Egyptians who made the revolution last year. I know that you will persevere in search of the ultimate triumph. Thank you for your moving thoughts today.

    Beryl Benderly

  4. I enjoyed reading this story and your ability to make every word dances and turns into picture and feelings. I feel you and understand your rationale for nullifying your vote but do think it was better to vote for Morsi, at least he is part of the revolution and his group shared in it, despite late!. I think we give the legitimacy to Shafiq by nullifying our votes. You said in one of your videos, “go vote to Morsi because we can deal with the BH later on which is not the case for Shafiq (party)”. I agree on this and was hopping you do the same but meantime, do respect your final choice. Let’s just hope in the future and in the final results of our revolution which has no end!.

  5. Hats off Nadia. I feel the same. There’s no Egyptian consulate where I am in China, and or even within reasonable distance. But by abstaining from voting, I decided I’m saying no both to a police state and to an Islamic state. Neither represents me, and neither is what I revolted for as well.

    I’m prepared to go down to the streets again and again, revolt a thousand times over, until a government that represents me and the people is elected.

    It’s indeed a dark time when one has to vote for someone like Shafik out of fear, and the generation of our fathers have shown us what price one has to pay for false security, and they demonstrated to us what kind of system and life these choices boil down to. I’m not my father. And neither are those who revolted.

    None of us are this generation. Mind you, I’m not judging them. Not at all. They had their challenges, and woes, and whatever they did, they did for reasons that seemed legitimate at the time. I have compassion for them. They did make mistakes and paid for it, some of them seeing their own children die in a revolution to topple what they once succumbed to. It must have been hard. And fear is a very destructive thing to live with. But feeling sorry for them, or understanding, doesn’t mean I have to repeat the same mistakes.

    And whatever we’re doing now is also what feels legitimate and right, and that is to end this era, of Mubarak and his allies, to put a stop to fear, to fight these demons and win.

    Our destiny is not in their hands, not in Shafik’s, the army, the Brotherhood. We make our destiny.

  6. Hey guys, you keep saying “none of the two candidates represents me”. Well, you will not find any candidate represents you 100% (or even 80-90%, I believe) at any time or in any elections. For me, it is enough (at the present stage) that the candidate represents 30-40% of my thoughts and directions (better of course if bit more and more).

    The situation now is like this: we have two candidates; one from the previous regime and another from a different group (close or supportive more or less to the revolution). The first (Shafiq) represents null zero % I would say of the revolution (and myself), whereas the second (Morsi) represents say 10, 20, 30 % (or any percentage you count/like). There is no a third choice available right now!. Obviously, I will go and vote to second one, not only because he represents me more but also, because he represents more the revolution. I consider it like this and therefore, still believe that nullifying our votes (at this critical and pivotal stage) is probably a negative act for the revolution.

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