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“If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal”

May 07, 2013

enter image description hereWith the election fervor at its peak, various political parties blowing their trumpets, people dreaming and hoping for change, I am once again caught in the oblivion.

I watch this spectacle with the detachment of an anatomist or the imperturbable spectator. I watch it with a thousand questions and feelings of rage assailing me, with a hope of understanding in what way; these people determine my destiny, our destiny.

Our destiny, does it depend on universal laws or on a few individuals or nothing else? Being exposed to these vigorous election campaigns, playing on the idea of change and justice, I am reminded of the saying by Emma Goldman “if voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”

Here one cannot overlook the sacrifices of those innumerable individuals who marched hand in hand for democracy. But is democracy that simple definition we learnt in school? Who is there to say that they did not teach us lies at school? Or is it about making democracy a reality, a reality I long to live.

It’s an old dilemma, which no one has resolved or ever will. It is like that trap where each answer carries within itself its own contradiction. How can these few individuals who bring forth ideas, revolutions, and wars, those who make us take one road instead of another determine our destiny?

Bertrand Russell once wrote “Whether the populations of the world are to live or die rests with the decisions of Khrushchev, Mao Tse Tung and Mr. John Foster Dulle, not with ordinary mortals like ourselves. If they say “die”, we shall die. If they say “live” we shall live.” Maybe he is wrong but I cannot exclude the idea that our existence is decided by a few people, their dreams and will.

I do not understand the mechanism of power by which some men or women become invested with the right to rule over others and punish them if they do not obey. Of course to avoid chaos a group requires a governing authority but the tragic part is the need for an authority to be governed. Those who determine our destiny are not really better than us. They can be more ambitious and enterprising but they are neither more intelligent, nor enlightened nor stronger than us.

I do understand those who criticise and rebel against power imposed by brutality. I do understand the silence of those who do not react or who suffer at the hands of these powers, mostly misled and fooled by them.

Whether power comes from a treacherous general or an adored leader, I see power as a hateful and inhuman phenomenon.

We, the young population, everywhere in the world are viewed as impatient, disobedient and dissenters. There are some who acknowledge our thirst for justice, a word that has been exploited a lot; a word that is so utopian. Strolling on the Muhammad Mahmoud street in Egypt after the revolution and seeing the graffiti of all those young martyrs filled me with regret, a young person born in the year 1995 lost his life for what? He had a right to dream and discover.

Sadly, I don’t have any solutions. Anyone who has the solution in their pocket is a presumptuous fool. I only have an opinion which can be summed up in two letters NO. No to the vulgar disparities I witness every day. No to the false promises being made. I don’t want to be misled or fooled by the power structures which are so deep-rooted that I will be lost even if I try to trace that path. I want to think. People don’t think anymore, they feel.

“Watch your thoughts for they become words, watch your words for they become actions, watch your actions for they become habits, watch your habits for they become character and watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

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The author is a student of media studies, passionate and committed toward issues of human rights and social justice.

———————————————————————————————————————————————— The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.