Our Voice Is In Our Vote

Whether it’s Jeremy or Theresa…whoever wins tomorrow…we should all be happy.

…We are SO LUCKY to be able to vote at all.

We might live in fear for the future of the NHS, but at least we don’t live in fear of our lives.

Despite all the bullshit, I’m so grateful that this election is happening at all..

My little foster brother is Eritrean. The Eritrean government has been the same since 1993. A one-party totalitarian state with no general election for 24 years…a few local ones but not since 2003 / 2004. He fled compulsory military service when he was 13 because he faced being in the army for the rest of his life. He told me that talking to more than one person in the street at a time could be seen as conspiring against the government.

The only democratic election in Sudan in the last 31 years was in 2010, but the main opposition candidate withdrew just a few days before. The whole thing was described as highly chaotic, non-transparent and vulnerable to electoral manipulation.

The Sudanese guys I’ve met in the camps in the last couple of years have told me that they were too scared do ANYTHING under their government and that government militias were literally killing people based on their race.

In Afghanistan the last election was in 2009 but there was a super low turn out, and the Syrian’s also have a dictatorship under Assad..

I asked my Kurdish Iraqi friend what he thought of his government today. He told me:

“The Kurdish region of Iraq is controlled by Barzany who is a president illegally without election.

Imagine you are one of the victims of the Manchester or London attacks. You lost everything. You think the government will help you. You are British, they should help you right?

What kind of help? A place to stay, or some food. Just the main things so you can have a life again.

You wait one month, two. Three. One year.

The sleeping government still covers his eyes.

That’s why 100,000 displaced people in Iraq flee their country including me and my family.”

So tonight I was ultimately grateful to go and stand in a civilised line, watch my name be crossed off a list with a ruler, and have a friendly old man apologise for the wait and demonstrate how to fold my paper in half.

So guys remember…either way tomorrow, count your blessings…

…and if you haven’t yet…GO AND VOTE

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