Nine days from presidential elections, Egypt allows its expats to cast an early tally. But those in prison must choose other options to make their voice heard. Two are said to be close to death after prolonged hunger strikes.
But if the presidential contest is not anticipated to be a battle to the death, it still feels so to many Egyptians. Three years of upheaval make many feel a vote for Sisi is vote to save the nation, while others stress Sabbahi is a vote to save the revolution.
One hunger striker, however, is the Egyptian-American son of a Brotherhood leader. He says he is charged while innocent, just to get to his father. Another is not charged at all. An al-Jazeera journalist has been detained since the break-up of the pro-Morsi sit-ins. Their only vote is with their stomach, hoping it might save something.
Preserve their lives, God. Honor their commitment, highlight their cause, establish all justice. Grant wisdom to the authorities to deal with them wisely. If they die, may it be with peace of heart, and contribute, somehow, to the peace of Egypt.
But for all those with simpler options, God, may they choose with discernment. Free all minds from the contaminations of rumor to select the man best suited to govern Egypt. May they sense the importance of this moment – whether from idealism or realism, hope or concern – but may no falsity enlarge the contest.
And for those who find the contest false altogether, give them alternate options to express their voice and build their nation. Allow no further destruction, whether to property, body, or soul.
For Egypt has suffered much, has chosen often, and still has little to show for it. Of those abroad and those in prison, give them all an idealism grounded in reality. Give them a spirit of sacrifice to serve their homeland.
And give them a taste, soon, of a nation that moves forward leaving none behind. Coming elections will soon dwarf their various options into near insignificance. But nothing is insignificant to you, God.
May all share in the struggle, as best they are able. Redeem each and every goodness, right each and every wrong. Death has been far too common an option in Egypt; deny it an ultimate victory.
But may its sting fuel vigilance toward liberty. For those who know it abroad, for those who lack it at home, and for the ordinary millions beside, may these be their eternal options.