As Egypt gears up for its 2011 presidential elections, a group of bloggers have launched a new campaign to make people believe that they can usher in change and make their voices heard through voting.
That's how the Have a Voice campaign started, when Ghada Abdel Aal, Sherif Abdel Aziz, Marianne Ngui Hanna, Enas Lotfy, Hany George and the director Amr Salama worked on a short film to promote the idea, then formed a Facebook group to discuss their message, before moving it over to the blogosphere.
Bothayna, one of the contributors in the campaign, wrote on her blog:
Ehssan wrote in a blog post entitled Instead of my immigration visa, I will make my election card, saying:
يمكن لو حطينا أمل كبير قوى على الانتخابات نبقى غلطانين لأنه هى مش العصا السحرية اللى هتقلب مصر لسندريلا لكن بدل ما تقضل البلد زى ماهى فى دايرة الشكوى يبقى نبقى عملنا حاجة ممكن نمسح بيه التراب اللى غطى البلد وخنقها ، زى ما كل واحد بيقكر قى تأشيرة يسيب بيها البلد ويهرب من المجارى دى طيب مش قى سكته يطلع بطاقة إنتخابية ويكتب إسم مرشح شايف فيه أنه يقدر يعمل حاجة ..
We don't have to put high hopes on the coming elections, because it isn't the magic stick that will turn Egypt into a Princess. But instead of letting the country stay where it is, and we keep criticizing .. we should do something positive to clean the dust that covered everything in the country and suffocated it. Instead of planning for your immigration, to run away from the current situation.. please do your election card as well, and elect the candidate you feel can do something good.
One of the campaign's founders, Sherif AbdElAziz explained why he decided to carry out this campaign, and how the idea started saying:
المرة دي بالذات –واحنا لسة شباب – مبقاش ينفع استني الانقاذ من السماء ولا ان الاجيال اللي جاية تصحي وتنام في اللي هيا فيه ..عشان كدة انا اخترت يكون ليا صوت ، وعشان كدة انا شاركت في الفيديو الرائع اللي اخرجه المخرج الصديق عمرو سلامة وعشان كدة لمينا بعضنا – شوية مدونين – ومن خاطرة بدأت عند غادة عبد العال صاحبة مدونة عاوز اتجوز ، تحولت الي فكرة، واخدنا الفكرة ورحنا بيها لعمرو وعمرو اقتنع وبلورها وجاب فكرة الفيديو بشكل جميل ومعبر وشاركت انا وكام مدون ومدونة في التمثيل داخل الفيديو بدون منصرف قرش واحد
We worked a lot on campaigns which were pro Human Rights. We worked also on campaigns to change the surrounding culture. But when it comes to the coming elections, we can't stand still watching from a distance or do some more lazy criticism. This time, we need to go down to the streets and vote! Not only that – but to take the maximum number of people we can convince to go with us too.
Especially this time – while we are still young- we can not wait for a miracle, or that the new generations will wake up one day to find everything suddenly changed. That's why I chose to have a voice. That's why I took part in the marvelous video by my friend director Amr Salama. That's why we -some bloggers- gathered around a thought that Ghada AbdElAal suggested, and translated it into an idea. We took the idea and went to Amr, and Amr transformed it into this video that explains it beautifully. I took part in this video, along with other bloggers by acting, and without a single penny.
Another blogger, Azmiralda, wrote her reasons why she is supporting this campaign saying:
Even if, nothing would happen, but at least I have to feel that I've done my part. And then won't 80 million people do something? and God would stand beside them?
Nesreen did a quick comparison between the Egyptian and Iranian elections saying:
يتلاشى بعض العجب حين أعلم أن نسبة عدد الناخبين المسجلين في إيران مُختلف عليه إما 59.6 مليونا أو 57 مليونا من إجمالي عدد السكان البالغ نحو سبعين مليون
ليس هناك حتى داعٍ لوضع أرقام عدد الناخبين المسجلين في مصر و نسبته مقابل إجمالي عدد السكان
Part of my astonishment faded away when I knew that there are either 59.6 million or 57 million registered voters out of their 70 million over all population.
I think there is no need to put the numbers of registered voters in Egypt compared to the over all population number.
Amr Ezz EL Deen stressed to his readers than time flies and the due date is coming near:
مصر تستاهل كل خير.. وجه دورنا عشان نغيرها بجد..
Ahmad Shokeir wrote an informative post, and concluded it saying:
Other bloggers share similar posts like Mohamed [Ar], who is a medical student, Esraa [Ar], Self [Ar], Cema [Ar], Shams EL Deen [Ar] and Hisham [Ar]. Lamada [Ar] also wrote her memories with election fraud, yet asked people to be persistent and respond positively with the campaign.
The rest of contributing posts are updated around the clock here.
And the campaign's Facebook group can be found here.