The Egyptian parliamentary elections currently underway, have been charged with being purposely overly complicated to deter voters. However, there appear to be some efforts to simplify the process. Each party and electoral candidate is given, or if they have enough clout, acquire a symbol or ramz as a unique identifier. This is to help the illiterate, who represent a significant portion of the voting population, identify the candidate they will vote for.
At first I found the symbols comical, and they are. Seeing posters replete with blenders, bananas, a stethoscope, and tanks alongside the serious patriarchal faces of the candidates undeniably squeezed out a few giggles. However, as the day went on and the various names such as Justice and Developement or Al Nour were mentioned, I remembered who they were through their symbols. No matter how extraneous an umbrella maybe to a discussion of the individualism, freedom, and independence of a farmer the association was made.
A family friend shared an anecdote that put the mechanices of these posters in to action. Her long time housekeepr did not know who to vote for from her district of Shubra. So our friend made a few phone calls to inquire about the candidates who represented the liberal bloc. She then told her housekeeper to vote for the candidate with the "olive". Later on that day, our friend's hunsband asks the house keeper whom she is going to vote for. When she replied the, "the olive," he asked in jest, "a green or black olive?" The housekeeper panicked, but was reassured by our friend that the green or black doesnt matter, what is important is the olive.