ajnabieh: A seagull standing on a "no seagulls" sign, with the text FIGHT THE POWER (fight the power seagull)
[personal profile] ajnabieh
A. I know a lot of you are also fans/fannish, and so I'm putting this first: The Journal of Transformative Works and Cultures, the fandom-studies journal put out by the OTW, has a new edition out on fandom and activism, which looks really exciting. I had the chance to read two articles before publication, one as a peer reviewer and one as a friend-of-the-author, and I really recommend both of them: The German federal election of 2009: The challenge of participatory cultures in political campaigns and Being of Service: X-Files fans and social engagement. Both are fascinating, and provide interesting ways of thinking about fandom and activism. I'm sure the rest of the issue is as awesome. Check it out, if this stuff interests you.


B. And the news story of the moment is the...I'm looking for a polite synonym for 'clusterf***' here...that is the state of electoral and military politics in Egypt. To be brief about it, the first round of elections put forth two candidates who were unpalatable to the majority of the population (Ahmed Shafiq, who is military in background and had been a part of the Mubarak regime, and Muhammad Morsi, who represents the Muslim Brotherhood, the more centrist of the Islamist politica movements); then, in the past week, SCAF (the military collective ruling at the moment) seized a bunch of rights that had been delegated to the parliament and civilian forces, while the Constitutional Court dismissed the entire democratically elected parliament because of 'irregularities' (sorry for the italics, I just feel ~~ways~~ about this); and Saturday and Sunday (i.e., today and tomorrow), the second round of the elections are being held, amid calls to boycott or invalidate ballots, a bunch of people holding their noses and voting for Shafiq or Morsi, and grumblings about whether the election will be fair at all. I'm sitting here eating a lot of popcorn and trying not to get too anxious, and reading the news. Some articles: Mohammad El Dahshan lays out precisely how bad it is in clear terms, Juan Cole points to the nested nature of the various problems here, and Lauren Bohn describes the level of fracture going on at the ground level. If you want to see what's going on during today and tomorrow's elections, here's the Ahram live blog, and here's Egypt Independent's.

C. Oh, also, in "hey there, war crimes are kinda an issue, you know?" news, the UN is leaving Syria. This...is not good. At all. I have no further commentary, apart from numb horror.

D. And some analysis:

I've been watching politically aware, pro-democracy, pro-revolution Egyptians angst over the outcomes of the first round of presidental elections since they happened, and I've been mulling. I don't disagree with their assessment of the lousiness of the two candidates; if I were an Egyptian citizen, I wouldn't know who to vote for either. (And I sure as hell wouldn't ask Thomas Friedman, but that's another issue.) But here's the thing: this sucks the way functioning democracy sucks. People had widely disbursed political interests; they voted for them. They got a choice between two candidates who both suck, but who represent commonly held positions. You know who can sympathize with this position? French voters in 2002, when Jean-Marie Le Pen, the racist candidate, came in second to the center-right candidate, horrifying everybody from center-left on over (and a lot of other people, too). You know who else can? American voters, who always seem to get stuck voting for people we barely like, but who are less awful than the other guy. (I'm going to be holding my nose *so hard* in November in that voting booth. Buy me a drink and ask me about drone strikes some time.) I'm really sorry, ya al-misriyeen, but this is what democracy is like: it freakin' blows. Amid all the ways in which SCAF is trying to yank power back from the people of Egypt and civiliam power, this presidential election is a sad little reminder that democracy doesn't make everything better--it just makes the process by which we fight things that suck a little cleaner and easier.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-06-16 07:12 pm (UTC)
kass: white cat; "kass" (Default)
From: [personal profile] kass
I've been reading the new issue of TWC, when I can, and thus far it is quite awesome, unsurprisingly.

I've also been following the Egyptian elections as best I can. And Syria -- oh, my heart. I don't know what anyone can do. I keep them in my prayers.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-06-18 06:54 am (UTC)
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
From: [personal profile] frandroid
Well, this is what broken democracy looks like. You can't talk about the political system in the United States and with a straight face call it a democracy anymore. You need a functioning free press for that to happen, and with the mainstream American press captured by corporate interests... I'm guessing you know this picture.

It doesn't have to suck this way. We have First Past the Post too in Canada, and we know it doesn't have to be this way. (Except it's worse for us in a multi-party system.) The two-turn presidential election double-sucks. At least the French voter on the left of Le Pen had a clear fall-back vote...

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