tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Jenin's Freedom Theatre defies critics, arsonists

"Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy."
-- First Commandment of the society in George Orwell's
Animal Farm.

On the night of April 15, a few weeks after the final performance of a Palestinianized version of Orwell's classic upon the stage of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp, an unidentified two-legged arsonist set fire to the theatre's main door.

Motives may be many, suspects are yet nil, and thankfully the damage was confined to the exterior of the theatre complex as the fire was extinguished before drafting inwards toward the stage, classrooms and computer lab.

At a press conference the next day, the Freedom Theatre's general manager, Juliano Mer Khamis (pictured), who re-founded the theatre in 2004, called on the Palestinian Authority security services to bring the culprit(s) to justice.

Somewhere in the vicinity of Juliano was a man named Zakariya Zubeidi, a man who is sometimes referred to in the Israeli press as a "reformed terrorist."

Zubeidi might be better called a "redeemed child" rather than a reformed terrorist. As a lad, he was active in the original Freedom Theatre started by Juliano's late mother, Arna. [Shameless plug: for more background, see an article by the Tuque Souq's alter ego published in This Magazine about the Freedom Theatre.]

In 2002, a child no longer--whose home and family were threatened by an Israeli military onslaught known as Operation Defensive Shield--Zubeidi joined the al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade and fought for the defence of the camp. Shortly thereafter, when the senior leaders of the Brigade were dead or captured, Zubeidi reluctantly became its new commander in the camp, which put him at the top of Israel's most wanted list (for assassination) for a time.

But, accruing wisdom and stoicism with age, Zubeidi, now 33, left the militant group for the Palestinian Authority security services. He also has a few ambiguous civic titles in the refugee camp. [That's Zubeidi, pictured, inside the Freedom Theatre.]

Nowadays around Jenin he's mainly known as the one guy who survived it all.

[For even more, see this recent Globe & Mail article by Patrick Martin about the Freedom Theatre and Mr. Zubeidi.]

When the story of the fire hit the Israeli press a few days later, leading daily Ha'aretz published an article claiming that, apparently for security's sake after the fire, the Freedom Theatre had named Zubeidi as its new director.

Juliano Mer Khamis vigorously denied this in an email sent to the Theatre's email list, implying that it is within Zubeidi's role as a member of the security services in Jenin to help bring the arsonists to justice, and to help protect the theatre.

"The Freedom Theatre called upon Zacharia Zubeidi and all supporters of the organisation to take clear action to protect it from these forces," read the letter.

Whether via bad journalism or bad translation, neither of which are usually attributed to Ha'aretz, the media got this one wrong.

But at least Ha'aretz gave us some gossip: rekindling the rumour that Zubeidi is romantically linked with Tali Fahima, the Israeli activist who, five years ago, went to live with Zubeidi in Jenin as a human shield when she learned that the Israeli military was planning to assassinate him. Both she and Zubeidi have denied the rumours.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Dregs of Journalism? Toronto Star serves hot cup of prejudice

At the Tuque Souq, we are obviously very forgiving when it comes to using bad puns in headlines. But we draw the line when bad journalism follows bad pun.

Take Oakland Ross's column from Saturday's Toronto Star: "Logo lands Starbucks in Middle East brew-haha." Mr. Ross picks up on a story that has been around the Middle East blogosphere for weeks and decides to write it with an egregious, if subtle, anti-Arab bias.

At the heart of the matter is Egyptian cleric Safwat Higazi delivering a tirade against the U.S. coffee chain because he thinks its logo resembles the biblical Jewish queen Esther, which obviously--to Higazi--makes Starbucks part of some amorphous Zionist conspiracy.

If the lunacy of this may be self-evident to you, think of how your average Middle Eastern coffee drinker feels about it. The problem is, Oakland Ross didn't bother to find out. It appears he didn't attempt to seek out anyone else authoritative in the Arab world to provide a rational counterclaim to Higazi's remarks.

If Ross were in America capturing conservative televangelist Pat Robertson likening the Starbucks logo to a Jewish conspiracy, do you think he'd be able to publish an article without first seeking out some other Christian leader to remind us that Pat Robertson is a loony.

It is a subtle generalization like Ross's about the Arab world that feeds a greater mischaracterization about Arabs (maybe Israelis too) as twitchy, reactionary, unable to think rationally (and no, I don't think Ross or the Toronto Star are being ironic*).

Take the opening line of the article:

"Sometimes it seems a person can't have a simple cup of coffee in the Middle East without making a political statement."

What this says to a reader is: "Read me, I'm another quirky article about those wacky Arabs always making a fuss over something. And don't worry, I'm not burdened with investigative reporting or journalistic nuance. Instead, I've got a link to YouTube."

Then, he finishes with a tidy insult to the Arabs: your resistance to economic exploitation is futile.

Ladies and gentlemen, your Canadian media! We have a new guest in the Tuque Souq doghouse.

[Thanks for the link, Quinn.]

*Editor's mitigation: The Toronto Star is not a bad paper. It's not a tabloid. It has a circulation of over 440,000, largest in Canada. It wins awards for Investigative Reporting (see: Cribb, Robert). Which is why this piece of claptrap from Ross is all the more vexing.

Blast from the Tuque Souq past: The last time the Toronto Star ran afoul of the Tuque Souq, it was over a terrible crossword-puzzle clue. Read more.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Yemeni Elections: Horse retakes traditional spot ahead of Cart

"One man, one vote" has been a key principle of democracy since the invention of high-school civics class. (And then, about a hundred years ago when women were invented, the principle became "one person, one vote.")

In Yemen, however, due in no part to hardships in translation, the principle in recent years has been "one spot, one vote." As in, the number of spots you can claim as yours equals the number of votes you get. Example: a soldier who has a place of birth, a place of residence (family home), and a place of other residence (military base) in theory gets 3 votes, according to Yemen's highly unregulated electoral system.

In a nutshell, this is why the parliamentary elections scheduled for today have been postponed for 2 years. Two years! At the demand of the opposition bloc! When was the last time you heard of an opposition party demanding that the current government maintain its grip on power for another two years?

The opposition coalition--a mishmash of die-hard pan-Arabists, Islamists and socialists which calls itself the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP)--threatened to boycott the elections if the ruling General People's Congress (GPC) party of President Ali Abdullah Saleh did not institute electoral reforms to safeguard a free and transparent vote. The EU threatened to pull its election monitors if the JMP carried out its boycott. The GPC decided to postpone the polls to save face, and the JMP declared it would take two years of hard negotiations before Yemen would be ready to turn the corner of democratization.

Not on the ballot: Whether the old city of Sana'a is the most beautiful in the world. (National Geographic Photo)

What's two more years to the current prez? Mr. Saleh has been at the helm for 31 years: from 1978-1990 as president of the Yemen Arab Republic (a.k.a. North Yemen); and from 1990-present as president of the united Republic of Yemen. Along the way, he's won a slew of dubious elections with very one-sided results.

It's not just the "one spot, one vote" hijinx that rendered Yemen ill-prepared for a free vote today. Negotiations between the JMP and the GPC have included the former's proposals for (and the latter's resistance to) a non-partisan or bipartisan election commission, a system of proportional representation that preferences policies and platforms over demagoguery, and security measures to ensure unfettered access to the polls for every Yemeni citizen.

Come to think of it, maybe two years isn't such a far-fetched estimate. Heck, even Canada could use some of these reforms.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Turkish ambassador flies home for history lesson

Perturbed over Prime Minister Stephen Harper's appearance Tuesday at commemorative vigil for the Armenian genocide of 1915-16, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Canada for 'consultations' in the homeland.

Allegedly Turkey's ambassadors around the world only have one job to do: convince host governments that the thingy with the Armenians wasn't a genocide.

No really. The website of the Embassy of Turkey in Ottawa hosts a section called "Armenian Allegations" whose documents include a 2005 letter from Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to his Armenian counterpart, then-president Robert Kocaryan, triumphing a binational "joint group" of historians to once-and-for-all arrive at the truth of the events of 1915-16 in which a reported 1.5 million Armenians were killed in an ethnic cleansing by Turkish nationalists.

There's also a link to an academic publication, "Revisiting the Armenian Genocide," which casts an appropriately academic shadow of doubt on the citadel of 'truth' (either Armenian or Turkish).

And there's a link to a statement (undated) from Turkey's Grand National Assembly exhorting, among other things, that "
Wisdom and logic command Turkey and Armenia not to be afraid of breaking the taboos by working jointly, and to face their history by uncovering all aspects of the human calamity they together experienced."

Turkey has long claimed that the so-called genocide was a rural civil war between rival nationalist factions that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands on both sides at a time when the grip of ethnocentric identity struggle on the people of the Middle East was as firm as Stephen Harper's hair helmet (pictured).

Armenia claims that, well, a million and a half of its people didn't live to see the birth of the short-lived Democratic Republic of Armenia (the fleeting independent state between Ottoman and Soviet hegemony in the Caucasus after World War I).

Today, April 24, is Armenia's official day of commemoration, the anniversary of the arrest of Armenian intellectuals in Istanbul in 1915 which touched off the revolt that led to the genocide (or the not-genocide other thing).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

National Magazine Awards nominations announced

Tonight we found out the nominees for the 32nd annual National Magazine Awards, for which there are 36 categories and 341 total nominees from 79 mags, which gives the impression--I hope true--that this country is flippin' crazy about magazines.*

Among the nominees are at least 4 articles involving Middle East issues:
  • "Iraq's Walking Dead" by Chris Watt in Maisonneuve magazine is nominated in the category Investigative Reporting. It's about Iraqi Kurds and a Kurdish prison in northern Iraq. Chris, a student, is also nominated for the Best Student Writer award for this piece.
  • "The Prince of Little Mogadishu" by Gerald Hannon in Toronto Life is nominated in the Profiles category. (Hannon is hands-down the best magazine profile writer around this town, for those of you who like profiles, which honestly I don't, but I liked this one.) It's a story of K'naan, a Somali refugee-cum-hip-hop-artist. (Clay Stang, who took the photographs for this piece, also got a nomination in the Portrait Photography category.)
  • "York's Middle East War" by Brett Grainger in Toronto Life is nominated in the Society category. I read this article when it first came out and found it a bit sensationalist. But having been involved in campus wars involving Middle East issues for years, my opinion probably matters little here. If you're a Tor Life fan (and really, a magazine's job is to pleasure its readers, not necessarily me), or if unlike me you don't have 20 friends who are grad students at York U, I'm sure you'll find it very insightful.

  • "Liban, les « métiers » du chaos" par Katia Jarjoura dans L'actualité, sur l'équipe de nuit, d'une sorte, au Beyrouth. (Possibly the most interesting article nominated, but it's in French. C'est okay, oui, because all of you are bilingual, non? Like moi, I'm being bilingual maintenant.)
Up for grabs for these and hundreds of other articles: Gold and Silver awards at the 32nd annual National Magazine Awards gala on June 5. Stay tuned.

*Full disclosure: Your humble blogger platoons as the Communications Manager for the National Magazine Awards, so this blog posting is probably 49% utterly shameless promotion of the organization he works for and, more to the point, initiates and tracks the media coverage of. But the other 51% is pure, unaffiliated love for Canadian magazines!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Canadian in Khartoum celebrates year of squatting in embassy

It's been almost a year now since Abousfian Abdelrazik moved into the Canadian embassy in Khartoum. It wasn't because he missed his scrambled eggs with ketchup and peameal bacon. It's because George W. Bush once called him a "turrrist."

On April 28, 2008, Mr. Abdelrazik--a Canadian citizen born in Sudan--took refuge in the embassy because he could not secure a flight home to Canada, and because he was a wee bit tired of the Sudanese security services abusing him. Days before, he'd been given permission to fly only to have that promise broken last-minute by Canada. So he had no other choice but to move in with the ambassador.

Briefly, Mr. Abdelrazik flew from Montreal to Khartoum in August 2003 to visit his ailing mother. Sudanese authorities arrested him on American and Canadian suspicion that he had ties to al-Qaeda because of his prior association with Ahmed Ressam, the so-called Millenium Bomber.

While spending the better part of 3 years imprisoned, interrogated and tortured under the auspices of the FBI, Mr. Abdelrazik's Canadian passport expired (that's his passport photo). He can't get home, although he's been cleared of all accusations (and was never charged in the first place).

He's on the U.S. No-Fly list, so he can't get on a commerical airline that ever operates in the U.S. He found one airline willing to take him, but because he's still on a U.N. al-Qaeda list, Canada won't issue him travel documents, even though he's been cleared by CSIS and the RCMP of any ties to international terrorism.

Ottawa said last month it would push to get him home if Mr. Abdelrazik got himself a ticket, the fare for which (from Khartoum to Montreal) is over $1000. Mr. Abdelrazik is short of cash owing to his insurmountable legal expenses, so a bunch of supporters got together and paid the airfare.

Ottawa balked, invoking a U.N. rule that suggests that in order to fly a named No-Flier through the skies the airplane must receive authorization from every single country whose airspace it occupies along the way. However, Ottawa could apply to the U.N. for an exemption; Britain did it successfully just the other day. But no.

So life goes on at the embassy in Khartoum, where Mr. Abdelrazik gets $100 per month to live in the lobby. (Um, let's see: $100 per month times 12 months = 1 plane ticket home + peameal-bacon breakfasts for everyone in Prime Minister Harper's cabinet. I don't see how anyone loses in this situation.)

Alas, Mr. Abdelrazik remains stranded, sort of like Tom Hanks in that film I never saw because the premise looked entirely preposterous. I guess there's yoke on my face.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Chop Chop... is Mohamed Kohail next?

For sale: The life of a Canadian citizen on death row in Saudi Arabia. Goes by the name of Mohamed Kohail. Special 2-for-1 sale. Asking price: $5 million.

The article "Chop Chop Square" by Adam St. Patrick in the new issue of The Walrus magazine makes a heavy footprint on the hearts of those following the Kohail case. The author is reporting from... well, I think the title makes that plain. He witnesses a public beheading in Saudi Arabia, and wonders whether Mohamed Kohail will be next on the block.

It may not be long: in the latest serve-and-volley between Saudi courts, a lower court at the request of a higher court upheld its own earlier decision to uphold the death penalty against Mohamed Kohail for his part in the death of a schoolmate. [For more background on this convulution of justice, see our most recent Tuque Souq posting on the Kohail saga. Mohamed's younger brother Sultan Kohail also faces a possible death sentence.]

The Kohail case is a tragic casualty of the seemingly unending war between Saudi jurisprudence and Reason, underscored no more precisely than in Wednesday's Globe and Mail article which laid out the cogent argument that the Kohail brothers are now essentially being held for ransom--blood money--by the victim's family, which has the power to grant clemency.

As Mr. St. Patrick affirms in his article about the Saudi system of capital punishment: "[A]t any time until the sword strikes, a victim’s family can pardon the condemned — usually for a cash settlement of at least two million riyals ($690,000 or so) from the convict or his family."

Except that in the case of the Kohail brothers, the asking price is almost ten times that: $5 million, according to the report in the Globe.

Amnesty International has issued an "urgent action" petition for clemency, indicating that the successful application of swift, direct pressure on Saudi Arabia from the outside--don't bother turning your head, Mr. Prime Minister, we are looking at you--is now the only way to save the Kohails.

Or five million bucks. Hey, why don't we ask some of those folks who are paying off Somali pirates?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Egypt suspends Poetic License

The Egyptian literary monthly magazine Ibdaa has been suspended over a poem it printed more than 2 years ago, which an Egyptian court deemed blasphemous.

In 2007 the well-known Egyptian poet Helmi Salem (pictured) published a poem called "On the Balcony of Layla Murad" in Ibdaa (Arabic for 'creativity') in which he compares God to a peasant. Apparently after some lengthy deliberation, an Egyptian judge recently declared it both "presumptuous drivel" and "blasphemy" and shut down the magazine.

According to one source the offending verse was: "God is not a policeman, who catches criminals from the back of their neck. He is a villager who feeds the ducks and feels the cow's udders and squeezes them with his fingers and yells: 'Plenty of milk.'"

[Note: this is a translation; I've not been able to find the Arabic to investigate the original parlance.]

What, so the imagery of Allah fondling bovine breasts crosses the line
of permissible poetic license?

Sure, standard interpretations of Islamic law frown on any visual representations of God. But why wait two years to act?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Somali Pirates Stimulate Selves (in the economic sense)

It's been a banner week for the suddenly resurgent Somali piracy biz. Depressed in the early months of '09 by bad weather, low volume and low turnover, the pirate market soared last week on strong returns from no fewer than 5 successful hijackings in the western Indian Ocean.

Somali buccaneers in the past week nabbed a German freighter, a Taiwanese fishing vessel, a British ship, a French yacht and a Yemeni tugboat, and tried for many more. There are now believed to be at least 18 ships and 270 hostages under Somali pirate control, marking an abrupt turnaround in pirate activity from the dismal winter months.

[Update April 14: Another 4 ships and 60 hostages seized today]

The pirates apparently were so buoyed by the surge in their fortunes that they took on a U.S. freighter for the first time (and lost; they took the American captain hostage but that ended yesterday in the deaths of 3 pirates). Then on Saturday they struck at a 26,000-tonne super freighter, though this one escaped after its crew turned high-powered water hoses on the attacking pirates.

A Canadian warship in the Gulf of Aden, the HMCS Winnipeg, even foiled 3 pirate attacks this past week. Despite the setbacks, the pirates are not dissuaded.

While Wall-Street white collars continue to hope and pray for the government to bail them out, Somali pirates know there's no stimulus like self-stimulus. Not waiting around for their chunk of the Obama administration's 357-gajillion-dollar bailout package, the pirates are making their own recovery, and the trickle-down is already being felt.

"We can smell the cash near," one local fisherman from the port town of Eyl told Reuters, in reference to the pirates' swagger and penchant for throwing money around after returning from a successful heist.

Yes, it seems for some folks--and we're talking about the ones who aren't hostages--happy times are here again.

In related news, class warfare is breaking out amongst the pirate hostages. Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme (the top pirate tracker) is dismayed that so many journalists and other do-gooders have flocked to East Africa to inquire about the safety of the lone American captain held hostage, while no fewer than 90 Filipino seamen, for example, have been languishing for weeks or months without so much as a page-17 news bite.

"It's hypocrasy," he said. While Western front pages are reserved for frightened rich white tourist folk like these, the Filipinos only make the local paper.

Do you think that, if it were only Filipinos and Bangladeshis under duress, NYT adjunct Mr. Fix-It Robert Kaplan would write this much hyperbole about how America needs a "third navy" to survive in a post-apocalyptic future world run by a Chinese-Al Qaeda-Somali Pirate triumvirate?

Some analysts are not ruling out an inevitable Marxian hostage revolt on the Somali coast which, while creating a Utopian hostage society in which each hostage is measured according to his or her abilities rather than skin colour, will also in an ironic twist establish a socialist government in previously ungovernable Somalia which will regulate the pirate industry and fill in the chasm between rich and poor with the teardrops and toil of the proletariat whose ceaseless labour will ultimately render the entire pirate trade worthless and save the whole world from the apocalypse that Kaplan predicts.

Well, you know anything is possible.

[Interested in pirates? The Tuque Souq Somali Piracy Watch has you covered, though we cannot afford to pay your ransom.]

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pharaohs were gay, says Sadat widow

Okay, she didn't really say that exactly. But former Egyptian First Lady Jehan al-Sadat has had a few bizarre statements come out of her mouth during her publicity stints while promoting her new book.

First, there was this odd NYT interview, in which Jehan was asked why Islam is so hard on gays (pun apparently not intended). She responded:
"Homosexuality is against Islam. Here in Egypt, there are not many homosexuals, not like the United States. There are some. We’ve had them since the Pharaohs."

To which the NYT's obvious follow-up question was, "You mean the Pharaohs were gay??"

She denied this, although really, it's not like the Pharaohs were Muslim, so she could attribute homosexuality to the Pharaohs (which, I mean, come on: what about that phallic beard) and not run afoul of the Islamic establishment.

Hey, speaking of sweeping generalizations, the NYT also asked Jehan if Palestinians are as smart as Israelis. Stupid question, but she answered it anyway:
"Believe me, they [the Palestinians] are more like the Jews than us. Most of the Palestinians are very well educated. Because they are a minority, they are like the Jews. They are intellectuals."

Uh-huh. So by deduced, logical, inductive reduction, Egyptians are not as smart?

But Egyptians don't take shit from those smarty-pants Palestinians. Asked her thoughts on how desperate Gazans tried to flee into Egypt before and during the recent Israeli attacks, she said:
"When you want to cross into Egypt, there are rules. But the Palestinians want to come without anything, just like that. There were thousands and thousands and thousands who wanted to cross, which is not legal."

Boo-yah! Who's smart now!?

Okay, more likely our readers saw Jehan show up on the Daily Show with John Stewart this past week, which obviously proves the 75-year-old is much more interested in selling books to the stoned, hyper-educated news junkies who watch Stewart than she is in appealing to the hyper-educated stoners who read the NYT.*

A deferential John Stewart asked Jehan al-Sadat if any Arab leader today might be as brave as her late husband. [Anwar al-Sadat was assassinated in 1981 after concluding a peace treaty with Israel, a landmark in the history of the modern Middle East but also a big eff-you to the Palestinians who were hoping for a more comprehensive agreement.]

"Believe me, John. All Arabs want peace. All Israelis want peace. The problem is with the leaders."

Oh, so what about your leader, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak? Hmm, no mention there.

Then Stewart asked if Arab leaders use the Palestinian conflict as an excuse to keep their own populations disinterested in domestic issues.



Well there you have it. Gay pharaohs, a stupid disinterested populace, a cowardly president: Jehan calls Egypt what it is, I guess.

[Thanks, Arabist.]

* Wait, at the Tuque Souq, we watch the Daily Show daily and read the NYT obsessively, yet we dispute the correlation between these two activities and smoking weed. We apologize for insinuating our own use of what is still an illegal drug. Kids, don't do drugs (until they are legal or you are 19).

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Y Chromosome no longer required for Algerian presidential candidates

The ruling Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) will be looking to extend its run of electoral triumph as Algeria votes in a presidential election this Thursday, April 9.

Heading into the campaign season earlier this year, nationwide bated breath greeted President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's long-rumoured decision to seek re-re-election after having served 10 years already at the helm. [That's Bouteflika in an AFP photo at left, gesturing to a crowd to "keep it real."]

Taking a page from Hugo Chavez, Bouteflika deftly navigated through the Athenian murk that is "legislated term limits" and managed to put himself on the ballot for a third term, which he is likely to win. Last time around he won with a mere 85% of the vote.

But there are 5 other contenders vying for the podium in Algiers, none of whom is more interesting than Louisa Hanoune, who two days past her 55th birthday is on the ballot for the Trotskyist Algeria Worker's Party trying to become the Arab World's first female leader.

If she does somehow win, her presence will certainly alter the optics of the League of Arab States, whose all-male leaders are pictured together at left during a recent pan-Arab summit. [Note: Bouteflika, if you can't recognize him, is by far the shortest guy in this photo.]

Ms. Hanoune has been taking her populist message for political and economic reform around the country, hosting more than 40 rallies which have attracted especially large crowds of Algerian youth. She wants to reform (i.e. liberate from cronyism) the political-party system and the civil service in Algeria, regulate the emerging private economy, and institute long-overdue land-ownership reforms.

But she probably won't win. Violence has marred this election season, which seems certain to ensure a more carefully orchestrated "free" election by the ruling FLN, as well as a surge in support for the military-backed Bouteflika who seems to many voters like the go-to guy for keeping Algeria out of further civil war.

Still, Ms. Hanoune has a growing popularity and a strong, unifying leftist-nationalist agenda (which attracts that emerging demographic in Algeria that is both tired of the FLN and ever wary of the Islamists). One can hope.

[Update Apr 10: Bouteflika wins 3rd term with 90% of vote.]