‘Poke’ don’t provoke

**Written in English, Arabic and Hebrew, the Facebook page ‘Real Democracy’ outlines its aims and its recommendations for users – Israelis who wanted to donate their vote to ineligible Palestinians. In the Israeli election just passed, Israeli voters used the Facebook page to contact Palestinians, and then vote according to their wishes.**

Due to the nature of the ongoing conflict – not least of all strict border controls – most of these people will never meet face to face, but it is testament to the power of the internet that they have been able to support one another regardless.

Donating your vote – donating your voice – is one of the bravest things you can do as citizen. How many of us could say that, should the situation arise, should the failings of democracy impel the donation of our votes to another person – a person without a vote, but nonetheless a citizen that must endure the consequence of the outcome of that vote – we would readily hand it over, silencing our voice to liberate theirs?

{{ quote How did the comment button on Facebook come to wield so much power? }}

It is a big ask – and, for two nations as severed and ravaged by conflict with one another as these, it appears almost inconceivable. And yet the page was littered with offers, and during the course of the voting, photos appeared of hands putting ballot slips in with captions so humbly describing their historic actions : “Tamar voting for George”, “Omar and Shimri in an electoral rebellion”.

How did the comment button on Facebook come to wield so much power? A simple ‘like’ and the immortal five words “can u vote 4 me?” hold the resonance of one of the greatest democratic acts available. Furthermore, it is staggeringly mature, a beautiful gesture of peace and respect to the suffering of neighbours, demonstrating a level of communication that we have not seen in this conflict for a very long time.

This rebellion has been one of the most positive products of social networking since Twitter’s role in the ‘Arab Spring’. This perceptive understanding of the need for communication and support, and, above all, the creativity that has been shown in using Facebook as their medium has inspired me beyond words, showing that what democracy needs right now is a bit of innovation.


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