Were we the only professorial-class people in Cairo without a maid? While we were in Cairo, the “maid went to vote story” became one fairly developed subgenre of liberal handwringing, typically used to illustrate either the ignorance of the Egyptian electorate or the disjunction in priorities between the educated elite and the poor majority (or both).
Here’s the classic version: “So my maid went to vote. I asked her, ‘Why not vote for the Kutla or something?’ [Al-Kutla = the generally liberal Egyptian Bloc.] But she said, ‘Ya madame, what has the Kutla ever done for me? Have they helped me with our medical costs or my children’s after-school private lessons? No, Madame, I will vote for the Brotherhood.”
A variation: “There’s all kinds of fraud! No one is even checking IDs! For instance, my maid went to vote. But she was in a hurry to get back to work (umm, why?) and didn’t feel like standing in that long line. So she left her ID with her sister and told her to vote for her. I asked, ‘Do you even know who she’ll vote for on your behalf?’ and she said she didn’t know. Imagine the Parliament we’ll get?”
And my favorite, from a beloved longtime AUC Arabic teacher: “So my maid went to vote. She’s a Copt, like me. She told me she voted for the Salafi Nour party. I was like, ‘How is this possible?’ She said, ‘Well, the man giving out the election information told me it was the party of Umm al-Nour, the Mother of Light, the Virgin Mary. How could I not vote for her?'”
For what it’s worth, this morning’s LA Times tallies up the informal second-round election results:
The Muslim Brotherhood said it won about 47% of 180 seats in the second round, about the same percentage it took in the first round. The Al Nour party, part of the more religiously conservative Salafi movement, told the Associated Press that it won 20% of the second-round vote, also matching its performance during the first phase in November. Secular parties are believed to have garnered less than 10% during the second round of voting, which took place Dec. 14-15. Election officials said turnout was 65% in the nine provinces voting.
Hmm. Merry Christmas, y’all!