Tuesday, 13 April 2010


Al-Hayat's Hassan Haidar writes on "A British 7th of May"

  • Tuesday, 13 April 2010
  • Fouad GM
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    Thu, 08 April 2010
    Hassan Haidar

    The Lebanese, Iraqis, Sudanese, and all the Arabs will surely scoff at the British people and their ordinary elections, and will laugh out loud at the monotony that will dominate the electoral campaigns in this boring Western democracy. On the 7th of May, the results of elections which will have taken place the day before will be announced, and it is expected that one of the two key parties, either the Labor or the Conservatives, will win with a number of deputies that will allow it to form the government, and might be obliged to align with a smaller party to secure the majority in the House of Commons. But this will all take place without any suspense or enthusiasm.

    On May 7 in Britain, and in a painful replication, the winner in the elections will stand to announce his commitment to the welfare of all the British people without distinction, and will be congratulated by the losers who will observe his performance. Armed militias will not take to the streets and set up checkpoints to kidnap and murder people according to their sect in an attempt to confront the results of the elections and outflank the results of the ballot boxes which were not in their favor, and prevent the other party from “monopolizing” power. Moreover, booby-trapped cars will not be detonated in front of the headquarters of parties, ministries, and institutions. The mountain will not be besieged and its people will not be threatened with annihilation so as to force the side that won the majority to abandon its victory and accept the formation of a “national unity” government upon the mediation of a country whose people are barely acquainted with it.

    We will die of boredom. The British do not fight over the electoral law, nor do they exchange accusations of forging the civil registry lists or transferring the voters’ records from one region to another or forging the electoral cards. In their country, the Interior Ministry does not shoulder the burden of securing tens of thousands of security members to monitor the polling stations, nor are they worried over power cuts or the stealing of the ballot boxes. The elections will inevitably take place without any clashes.

    The imagination of the British is really shallow. For instance, their electoral campaigns lack the slogans that skillfully stir up tensions and manipulate the sectarian, confessional, and factional affiliations. Their clergymen are busy with their own small problems and confessions and are not striving for a “divine” role. The candidates will not assassinate their rivals with silencers and will not threaten them with serious consequences if they continue to run in the elections and do not withdraw for the sake of stability and balance. They will not race towards the neighboring countries to draw their moral or “physical” support if necessary.

    We will certainly be bored. There are no rollers that crush politics, the left-wing and right-wing and those in between them under the name of “resistant” serenity. There are no halos of “sacredness” that prevent newspapers and television channels from uncovering the flaws and deficits and draw the attention of the voters to the misleading attempts under obsolete patriotic and national slogans, ones which are still used after being woven and embroidered. Downing Street is not besieged to prevent the government from completing its work.

    Despite the rampant economic crisis, the British people do not enjoy the sense of solidarity. The candidates do not distribute symbolic gifts to the voters and do not enter their votes into the Stock Exchange. They do not lie to the people and promise to provide them with jobs if they win, or to pave the streets if they make it to the parliament. The candidates’ minds lack a wide imagination, so their programs fail to take care of the present and the coming generations, without giving any consideration for the constraints and weight of history and geography.

    It is a complete mess. There is no censorship to uncover the truth and expose those involved and no intimidation to politicize the judiciary and the courts. As for the voters, they are overshadowed by fatal selfishness, as they insist on granting their votes for he who can provide them with a better life, reduce their taxes, improve the work of the transpiration means, decrease pollution, and secure their healthcare services and pension, irrespective of the pledges with victories that are guaranteed in advance, or missile arsenals and what comes beyond the missiles, or with pledges to standardize the color of the map from the ocean to Channel or to secure the support of regional forces or the opposition and rejectionism fronts. Britain, fortunately, is an island that does not have neighbors and the concept of neighborhood is not in its dictionary.

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