Friday, 18 March 2011

Egypt's constitutional referendum

Tomorrow is a historic day, for the first time Egyptians have a chance to decide their own destiny. There is a referendum to decide changes to the constitution. I have been asking local people will they be letting their wives vote. Yes I know it should not be up to the man of the family to decide this but this is the reality of Luxor and Upper Egypt. I have been pleasantly surprised. Even older men are saying yes, because now it will make a difference. (I feel if we can get the women to the polling station then we can work on getting them to make their own voting decision.) So even my father in law is quite excited and saying that everyone should vote. Sadly there are still the occasional ‘there is no point’.

Some of the comments I have heard show a great deal of understanding, one taxi driver told me it will take time to become fully democratic like France after the revolution. Frankly that one complete threw me as I had no idea they learnt about the French revolution but it was encouraging to know that not everyone assumes change will happen overnight. Some do however and we have silly demos of school boys wanting to only have to buy 20 books instead of 40. Others think democracy means no rules and have been building illegally and ignoring the law. But I believe this is a swing of the pendulum and they will settle down to reality. They are a clever people.

The one thing I would like to see happen in Luxor is market research before changes are made instead of consultants telling governors what they want to hear. Actually ask tourists what they want to see (less hassle I think would be top of the list), asking locals what they want, actually that one should come first. Luxor should be about Luxorians. Also the archaeologists should be consulted about the changes at the sites before the tourists.

So this is the start of the democratic process, let us look to the future with hope for a great Egypt Moving Forward.

No comments: