Rzeszow: The ballot is stronger than the bullet

By Sinan Yeşil

In this week’s Open Café, everything was aligned for perfection; the weather, theme and lots and lots of people!  The attendance was huge, from both international and local community, nearly around forty people.

You might not know, but last weekend before our meeting was important to every Polish citizen in Poland. The presidential elections which took place on 12th of June. So, our facilitators, Miki and Sinan, prepared a two hour long discussion regarding DEMOCRACY and voter participation with puzzled situations e.g The students in a faculty of arts have a contest of drawing. 50 drawings entered the contest. There are 300 students in the faculty. How will you choose the winners democratically? in which the participants had to resolve using a democratic approach.

As per usual, our facilitators warmed up the participants with an energizer and not only made them comfortable but also created a space for them to mingle with each other. Right after, our facilitators asked about a definition of the term democracy and led them to think about these questions; Is voting democratic? / What does it mean that someone represents you? / What are the responsibilities of that person? / What is a fair election? As well as giving some examples for consideration such as; North Korea is officially called “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” but how does the system work there?

Since the Open Café was the right after the elections, local people, as well as international, had many things to say about voter participation, fair election and representation. Ultimately, it was a great success for everyone who is involved and we agreed on that there is always room for improvement!