Azzam Tomeh & Zeinab Moukachar
Staff Writer & Videographer
With elections just around the corner, the debate on who to vote for and whether to vote at all becomes a topic of discussion for the majority of AUB students.
AUB is infamous for its diversity, and it makes sure its liberal reputation is reflected through the political freedom it allows its students. Yet, the politicization of the student body elections becomes inescapable.
The elections we witness annually are rarely ones in which the candidates compete to serve the students’ best interests. They are more concerned with which party can amalgamate students rather than with the students’ affairs and complaints on campus.
And so it becomes a question of where my representation, as a student who has no interest in casting a vote for any of the existing campaigns, lies. Where do I stand in my political opinion? And more importantly, why am I being cornered into having one at all? How does this, as an academic, concern me?
While there might exist candidates who hold a claim to political independence, certain inherited ideologies, which often transcend the boundaries of the university to include a worldview on how to deal with personal rights, religion, and the state, among others, are too present.
To a certain extent, not having political inclinations becomes a clear sign to a person’s actual political inclination. Opposing all parties and refusing their ideologies goes to become an ideology within itself, and it becomes a tool of mobilization all too known. Without a proper understanding of the politics of elections, choosing a candidate becomes an enigma.
As we saw during the “Stop the Tuition Fees Increase” protests, where the clubs, not the USFC, were the main element of mobilization, the student body holds the power to take action without needing to resort to a student government. Another incident is that of the Insight Club and the homosexuality lecture last year. Point being, if you want to do something effective in this university, sometimes you need to avoid the bureaucracy and take direct action yourself.
However, considering what was stated above, it can be said that this year, and probably not anytime soon, we will not vote. We will attempt to take action nonetheless—neither resigning to ineffectiveness nor leaving the field empty so that anyone can do anything. We shall follow the famous motto: “Do not mourn, organize!”