From the land of pyramids, pharaohs, and papyrus, we bring you a look at Egyptian culture past and present. Grab a cup of mint tea, fire up the hookah, crack open a novel by Naguib Mahfouz, play some songs by Abdel Halim Hafez, or put on a movie starring Omar Sharif and join us while we share recipes, music, jokes, videos, and current events from Egypt.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Presidential Debate: Egypt Scores Another First!

Today's Scribe:

Presidential debates aren't such a big deal to the average American.  Every election cycle the airwaves of America are jammed with the candidates facing off against one another as they first try to win their party's nomination and then lay claim to the big desk in the Oval Office.  We take a free election for granted because it's the norm in America.  For the most part, Egyptians have taken presidential elections for granted, too, but for a vastly different reason -- they  have never, not even once, been free.  But all of that is about to change as Egypt scored another historical first for the Middle East -- a live, televised debate between two presidential hopefuls.

For the average Egyptian, elections have always been a joke.  The cartoon above is the perfect example of what I mean.  It shows the election results for the ruling party, then and now (now being the last time Mubarak "won").  Beginning with Anwar Sadat, the ruling party has always won by a 99.9% landslide vote.  Under "pressure" from the Bush administration in 2005, the winning percentage drops to 66.6% -- not quite a landslide yet enough to maintain a stranglehold on the country.  Maybe someone finally figured out that dead people don't vote and just removed those ballots from the boxes?  Not likely.

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