Jokes, political discussions ease boredom in Maadi after long voting process

Hatem Maher, Monday 28 Nov 2011

After queuing for around 8 hours to vote, one man joked that he would be going to Tahrir Square to demand the return of dictatorship

Egyptian women queue to vote in Maadi, a suburb of Cairo, Egypt(Photo: AP)

The trademark Egyptian sense of humour came in handy for the young and old men who had to wait several hours to cast their votes at the Amira Fawzeya School in Maadi, a wealthy suburb in southern Cairo.

Poor organisation saw one of the polling stations open at 12:00 p.m., four hours later than scheduled, as frustrations boiled over in the first parliamentary elections following the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak in February.

“I decided to be positive and come and vote. I did my duty but they are forcing me to hate the whole process,” shouted one angry man, who arrived early in the morning to take a leading position in what turned out to be a very long queue, after one of the judges failed to show up on time.

Although the judge’s prolonged absence prompted many people to consider leaving the school, the man calmed down when he began to engage in a heated political discussion with several others.

Some of the conversation participants leapt to the defence of Egypt’s ruling military, following last week’s violent clashes in Tahrir Square, which left more than 40 people dead and hundreds injured, while others supported the protesters.

The argument was beneficial, allaying the boredom of the enthusiastic voters until the missing judge finally arrived at noon.

They consequently geared up for the voting process but their enthusiasm soon waned when they realised that the 300-metre-long queue was not moving, thanks to a very small entrance to a very crowded area.

Taking it to the next level, and in an attempt to repel emerging boredom and exhaustion, voters began to trade jokes.

“Where are you Mubarak? We miss your presence. You never allowed us to experience such a dilemma. You used to vote in the ballot boxes on our behalf,” one man, who appeared worn out, said with a big smile on his face.

Others followed suit, including a 26-year-old man who sympathised with those who still remained way behind in the queue.

“Look at them! They have just started the political discussions we had. Once they advance, they will realize that they should turn to jokes. Politics will not help them,” he said.

The group of voters who arrived at 9:00 a.m. were finally relieved after casting their votes at around 5:00 p.m.

“If they told us there would be elections again, I would go to Tahrir to demand the return of dictatorship,” one man sarcastically said.

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