ZOHRA FATEMAH

I remember the road down the voting centre years ago, when I had voted for the first time, I had felt so lucky that the year of my legal adult age would fall on the same year as the elections. Today, as a woman in her early thirties, I will this year again be visiting the voting centres, for the fourth time. Just that this year, unlike the other years, I am in a dilemma. I have the feeling of choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea. I do not consider not voting as an option, just that this year this feels like the most reasonable thing to do. 

I am, nowadays using the question “who to vote for?” as a conversation starter. I am listening to almost all the radio programs whereby the candidates give a brief speech about their agendas, in the good hope that this might, maybe help clear my thoughts or my preconceived perceptions of things.

Again, this year, regrettably, the focus is back to the main traditional parties. The frightening part of those parties for me remains the recurring faces. Voting for the same persons is no issue if there was the comfort of unending work for the people. What is it that was not achieved at some point that will now be attained? Is it for the betterment of the people or for the alluring power? I cannot help questioning myself: are those persons synchronized with the new generation’s views be it in terms of outlook, technology or any other subject? Some have proven to be complete illiterates when it came to some basic knowledge itself. How do we ensure progress of a nation in such a situation?

Where during the past years some have been at loggerheads, nowadays we see amongst them coalition. Where in the past we have seen amongst them so many shameful scandals, frauds, philanderers, we see the same people back on those stages to convince us again. Where we have witnessed people representing us considering themselves above everyone, instead of being one amongst us, we have seen the people whom we have elected swearing openly at us, yet there we are back at revering them. Making me wonder of the integrity of the people representing us and at the same time wondering if we are a population suffering from short memory.

The ‘new generations’

It is, also somehow alarming when we see what we call the ‘new generations’ getting into the same old traditional parties, not suspecting their good intentions but will they be able to stand to peer pressure when comes the time for it, or will they just abide by the party? Will they really be the voice of the youth? Is there really a new breeze or just the fragrance of a new breeze trap in the same old cog? Or are we just giving the illusion of change, with the same people at the head to rule? Is the young aspiring politician really going to have a say and an important part to play? Will the selected youth be able to stand to the old wolves? Are we just using the youth as a bait to attract a part of the population? Will the voting youth fall into that trap? Even more so, does that youth possess the wisdom and vision to better the country or even the maturity for such a responsibility?

And then we have the woman strategy. Maybe, this is for me the trickiest and somehow most dangerous part. Are the candidates chosen on a competency level or are they chosen only to give the illusion of being represented? What will their roles be? Just like the youth, we have a lot of expectations from the women coming forward to represent us. From the onset, women are not taken as seriously as their male counterpart which is why I believe we need women of high caliber who are able to stand up and be heard above all the male voices who already are not even considering their voice.

Considering that some came with the same scandals as their male counterparts, those who have the will and strength to change things around are discredited. Bills under women have taken aeons to be approved making us question their resolve to really stand up for women. This time again, I am skeptical about some of them. Some are already prejudiced even before being elected stating women should all be working and no more stay at home in such a way making those who take such a step look lesser than other women. It somehow, takes away from you the possibility of a choice. Whereby, another one has vehemently denied that in our actual society women are more vulnerable. Unfortunately, we still have more to hear about women’s rape, domestic violence and lately murders.

You as any politician, irrespective of your gender, are expected to change things around. Is the reason for you to be in politics based on your level of patience or listening skills? Would you consider that your male counterpart is not bound to listen untiringly to people’s issues? Why would I consider voting for people with such opinions? Such statements, when coming from people of power and decision making can be more disastrous for women than anything else.

A vicious never-ending circle

Unfortunately, almost all parties have come up with monetary benefits as their prime point, making me wonder: are we such a population which can so easily be bought? Can we be so effortlessly lured into voting by just some increments? The scary part is that maybe the answer is a Yes. No one has come up with any solid ecological propositions, or the one who came up with it has propositions which makes me question just every aspect of the proposal, from their lucidity to their opinion about the voters. Are we such senseless population that these people consider such plans valid enough to be laid to us? Are we considered to this level irrational that we shall fall for such frivolous ideas?

Maybe, the time has come that we bring forward people irrespective of their genders, age, race, religion. Simply bring forward those people who are willing to make things move, people who have the nerve to change things around, people who do not consider getting into the same old robes as the only possible ways to bring around a transformation. Maybe, the time has come that we vote people and not parties, that we vote names and not symbols. Because the willingness to bring a change is an individual will above all. Because, we have seen politicians who have worked honorably for their constituency despite all.

Yet, there again there is the lurking danger of chaos: in a place where there are only individuals instead of a party leader, how to bring the deputies to a consensus without a majority to agree. Hence, creating a vicious never-ending circle with only the doom of the people. Or, maybe we need a system change itself?

Are we prisoners of our history, going down the same loop every time, same people and same ideas? Are we bound to repeat the same pattern? Or are we just scared to go along with the wind of change? Whom do we cast our votes for when it is just the same pattern wrapped in different colors? Whom to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea? Who to vote for?