People-run debates before General Elections

Shwan Dizayee

By Shwan Dizayee :

Watching the Europe Debate on British television last night made me think, are people really listening? Do Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg themselves know what they are saying, or is it all a rehearsed pantomime fuelled by the motive of securing seats in the 2015 General Election; whichever it is, one thing is for sure, ‘Nigel Clegg’ has a nice ring to it.

Like most things in my British life, I relate back to other countries and circumstances, trying to surmise whether it would fit their climate, or simply how people would react. Imagine a head to head debate, between party leaders in Kurdistan. Nawshirwan Mustafa battling it out with Ali Bapir, Masoud Barzani against the abysmal interim alliance leadership in the PUK. Even on a smaller scale, between constituent candidates, and future elective ministers.

I believe the people; have a right to know who they are voting for, to avoid being indulged by the tide of loyalties and tribalism. You should not read this article or base your judgement on my surname; choose to do so on my own merits, not on the merits of my forefathers. This is a grave issue that has been plaguing our nation for decades. We should not forget, but moreover respect the efforts of all tribal families in the ‘Kurdish Struggle,’ but the struggle as we knew it has changed, we have entered a diplomatic age whereby the only enemies are amongst ourselves. These changes start with the people. I beg you, for the love of god, read the small print before making a decision, have a criteria by which you judge each candidate. Ask yourself, what has this woman/man have to offer? Will he evenly represent the voice of the people? What are their initiatives? And then read the list number and recollect which party he represents as each party should be working towards the same end – the people – with these elections being a means to that end and nothing more.

It would be nice to have these debates quarterly, which should be open to the public, involve a bipartisan mediator (I vote for Shaho Amin of Rudaw TV and Media) and be based on hard facts, not silent promises. We need a more open society, where the voters, the people, take to the podium and voice their opinion.

Speaking to the younger generations, I sense their hostility towards politics altogether, with a subsequent disinterest in elections and ballot sheets. I find this most bizarre, in a system where people are actually given their birth-right to vote, they are abstaining from this. They say corruption will always sway the motives of individuals above those of the interests of the people, and yet they still have a chance to vote against those individuals. They should be setting an example for their younger brothers and sisters, as it is all within the mind-set and culture, an aspect which can change in time, if only the people are willing to do so.

Undoubtedly the World will be watching as this month unfolds. Instead of making other ‘Democracies’ feel better about themselves and their shortcomings, let’s set an unprecedented example. This is a call upon the people: it is you the people who take the ballot papers, and it is you the people, who have the power to change your own fates. Use this responsibility wisely.

Shwan Dizayee is a third year Chemical Engineer at Aston University in Birmingham, United Kingdom

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