My Parliamentary Experience

So finally it’s Election Day. It wasn’t until recently that that I did some serious thinking and decided I should vote. Yet, I had no clear idea whom I was voting for. Every time I decide to vote for someone they turn out to be in another precinct. As for the ones in my district I didn’t know any of them, except for an old friend of my mother’s and a relative of a friend. Yet, I didn’t feel like voting for them because I didn’t want to feel guilty for voting for someone “I know” while I really didn’t. So, I decided that I’d cross that bridge when I came to it, no need to rush.

I set off from home fully equipped with my camera in case I saw something interesting to capture. Ironically, the process went very fast and smooth that I didn’t have enough time for much of that. When I arrived at the place, which is a girl public school, people were gathered in front of the building and the narrow street was packed with cars and banners. As I made my way through the crowds I observed the banners and posters around since I hadn’t decided who I was going to choose yet. I spotted a poster for a nice/decent looking lady who I thought might make a potential votee (If that word exists) There was no flashy mottos, promises to free Palestine or clichés about women and youth. The posted simply said that she was the candidate of “Kulluna Al Ordon” (All Jordan Forum), which I liked.

So, as I approached the entrance, I started to worry about how “smooth” this will be. There was a crowd of girls and women gathered in front of the gate, so I thought I would have to wait sometime before entering. But it turned out that it was much ado about nothing. All of them seemed to be supporters of different candidates so they waited at the gate handing out pictures and brochures of their respective candidates. I was given some myself, read some of what was written on one of them and then decided I was still going to vote for the woman I saw earlier.

As I mentioned earlier, it all went very smooth, way better than I’d imagined. There were people to guide you all the way to the ballot box and all. So, when I finally got there, I handed over my ID, not knowing what was about to happen to it. I even asked them if I could take pictures for the polling hall but they said it wasn’t allowed.  I filled my ballot and inserted it in the box, then I turned to take my ID back and OH MY GOD! What have they done to you my dear Identification Document! 4 years ago in the previous parliamentary elections I had my ID tattooed with a star as to say I had already voted. Now, the poor thing was mutilated.

That was it! I left the room in awe over the deformed ID, so I fished the camera out of my bag and took a picture of it. Seems like it wasn’t a very wise thing to do, because a policeman stopped me saying: “What is this? What are you doing with this camera?” And he said it in a way that made my heart sink within me. “Oh no! They are not going to confiscate my camera!” I told him I was picturing my ID and that I was already running out of battery. He was a nice guy anyway and told me to hide it so they wouldn’t take it at the gate.

So, that pretty much was it. It didn’t take so much as 15 minutes, and although I don’t think my candidate will win but I had to admit I basically did this for me. I didn’t want to feel guilty for being passive, negative or politically alienated. Anyway, I hope something good will come out of this. I don’t want to have my ID mutilated in vain.

Originally Posted on November 20, 2007 on http://oeliwat.jeeran.com/archive/2007/11/385940.html

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