May 30, 2014

David Degner on Egypt’s Telltale Election: The Result of a Hard, Sad and Bloody Process

I covered the first day of the Egyptian elections in the small town of Edwa with Richard Spencer in a story for the Telegraph. It was a stark view of Egypt’s divisions.

We came to this town with a purpose, to find the families of the 683 who received a death sentence for a protest that ended in one policeman losing his life. We found two of them, one was an older man who was blind, the other was a 15 year old.

The family of the 15 year old lived in a single room with one small bed. I photographed the boys ID photo on the remains of the mother’s lunch, bread and some greens. They were living a very simple life. Now her son has become another anonymous victim in the bigger “fight against terrorism”.

I then turned my attention to the election:

This print-shop full of young workers spent much of the last week printing Sisi posters to be put up around Cairo. While I was there, the printer pointed at the posters and said most of their sponsors were corrupt, or drug dealers, but wanted to be seen as close to Sissi.

Across town, there was a constant trickle of voters into the school which doubled as a voting station.

On the second day of voting, the turnout was even lighter than the first. I particularly liked this shot because the man’s shirt said “Camp David.”

After leaving the polling station I saw a big bus with Pro-Sisi banners on the side. So I hopped on my bike and caught up with it, and talked my way on. From my understanding, this bus was a violation of the “no-campaigning during voting” rules, but it didn’t matter.

Instead of photographing the bus, I found it much more interesting to photograph people’s reactions to the bus. Some people were smiling and dancing along, some were holding up 3 fingers in support of the opponent Sabahi, and some were just standing there unimpressed by it all.

It’s the photo at the top of this post, though, that sums up the whole process of the revolution and the past three years. After a child dipped his finger in the fraud prevention ink, it ran down his finger and looked like blood. No matter your side or viewpoint of the current events, almost all Egyptians will agree that the process to get here has been a hard, sad and bloody one.

For more, see Tuesday’s election preview and companion to this post, David Degner from Cairo: On the Sissi Election and Egypt Under the Boot.

Photographs and narrative by David Degner.

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David Degner
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