Saturday, August 21, 2010

Our lucky country

A couple of years ago, I went on a tour to Egypt, where I spent a lot of time grilling our very patient guide about Egyptian life.
Talk inevitably turned to politics.
"Do you have elections?" I asked.
He looked at me as if to say, you poor, naive person.
He told me that after many years of rule under Mubarak, and under some pressure from the US, the Egyptians had what was supposed to be a free and fair election. Except that somehow in his area the papers were marked, so it was possible to trace votes to people. And he had friends who were arrested and detained for not voting the right way.
"So yes there are elections, but better not to vote", he said.
So while here in Australia plenty of people bemoan the debasement of the election process to a policy auction, today as we go to vote, we need to remember we are exercising a right that plenty of people in this world don't have, or have only gained through violence and bloodshed.
Exercising the privilege to vote is an action that moves me to tears.
On Election Day 2010, let's give a cheer for democracy.

2 comments:

Linda said...

Well now that I have voted it isn't so bad lol. It is nice that someone cares about what I want, that I can vote just not people more deserving or whatever.

achan said...

well written Paola. (very late in commenting though sorry). Australians do have the privilege to vote and it annoys me that many people complain about it and only vote because they know there is the chance of being fined.

Here in Japan it is not compulsory to vote so people don't. Turnout is lucky to hit 15%. It seems such a waste of money considering the government goes to the polls almost every 18 months to replace an 'embarrassed leader'. If people would realise that many people throughout the world would just like a fair election.