As someone who is not an American, it really upsets me when I see the number of Americans who don’t make the effort to vote during the presidential election.
I come from the Middle East, specifically from Qatar (a tiny, yet wealthy, country), where there is really no such thing as election. First of all, we are a constitutional monarchy; second, there is no parliament, even (until 2013), where we can vote members in and out.
While the situation might be better in my country, it is not the case in many other Middle Eastern countries. That’s why the Arab Spring kicked off a year ago, and that’s why people from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and others went to the streets — risking their lives and facing imprisonment or death — for that basic right that they never had: voting.
Al-Harami is an international relations researcher for the Civil Aviation Authority and writes for the Qatari newspaper (one of four owned by the Qatar government). She is participating in the Elections 2012 Visiting Journalists Program and is working out of The Roanoke Times newsroom. Follow her on Twitter: Reem_AlHarmi