November 25, 2006

int'l day of disproportional representation

Last night, there were fireworks and a laser show prepared by the High Election Commission. An enlightening demonstration of how the high authorities look at the elections of the day.

Down to earth, the stakes are high for 40 seats of the lower chamber of -tenants’- representatives. Unlike common folks, these will be entitled to ask questions, discuss sensible matters and put lease-respecting desires directly to top management. (To speak to the property owners as such, formalities must be cleared first with the upper chamber of 40 landlords’ representatives).

In lands with public land, this would fall under the realm of politics, but politics need public sphere. At 93% privately owned, likely a Guinness record, it is all a civic affair here, and not necessarily a civil one. But that doesn’t mean the lack of drama, reaching its apex episode today.

Unlike last time, AbdAli is more likely to vote, even though his brother Abdul Shaheed still won’t have any part in it. Their neighbors, Abdul Rahmans will be voting, and so are the janitors/guards Abdul Maleks.

AbdAli does not look as happy exercising his franchise as his near and far neighours. He has half the vote of Abdul Rahman and less than a tenth of Abdul Malek’s (probably a Guinness record disproportionally speaking). He is also doubly famished. He is being told that half a bread is better than no bread and no vote. And that’s different from what he is hearing from his brother, who keeps saying that no one signed the 2002 unilateral lease in the first place, only the co-owner-manager deal of 1973. That is academic to AbdAli right now. He is losing sleep since the leaked reports of a joint landlords-Abdel Maleks scheming to evict him. Strange faces are already moving in and being made to feel at home. He just hopes to see someone speaking for his hunger, pain and fears right now. He hopes.

But, with all due respect to AbdAli, the story of this election is not about him or his first time participation. It is all about how Abdul Rahman’s will vote. A swing voter, to whose side will he swing? Even AbdAli concedes that his good night sleep could very well be in Abdul Rahman voting hand. Evert tenant knows it, it's hell having landlord, janitor and neighbour, all on your wrong side.

AbdAli may not admit it, but in the breeze of the last few days, he too was caught with the bug of anticipation. He wished he would be a voter in the ridings of the likes of Muneera Fakhro, Ibrahim Sharif or Jumaa al-Jufairi. And he told friends it is duty to block the winning of the tribo-salafites, anywhere, regardless. The right to clean air comes before the right to justice or proportional representation, he reckons.

He even told a friend in the HQ of a tenant rights society to wake him up if and when Muneera and Ibrahim made it. That would be worthy of fireworks any time of the night.


At 6:53 PM, Anonymous Mahmood Al-Yousif said...


But you seem to share the same pessimism as Adel Marzooq generally, but like me you seem to shyly be optimistic that the liberals will come through and provide us with the fresh air we so desperately need.

We'll know how things shape by the morning, and I hope for the sake of Bahrain, that our optimism will carry through.

Fingers crossed.

At 10:32 PM, Blogger MR said...

It's not about liberals as such (heavens know that might include Anwar Abdul Rahman), as much as people with heart and mind in the right quarter.

Thus far, campaign workers say that Muneera, Abdul Rahman and Ibrahim (in that order) appear to be leading in their local polling stations. But the fear is from a reversal by those 10 ones at large. Already Ali Salman told Al-Manar that the ballot boxes at one of them, (at BDF Hospital) have been moved elsewhere prior to sorting them out.


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