I follow foreign elections and foreign referendums closely. I read about candidates, I watch their debates, I work on my opinions, I make predictions, and I chart up my own analyses so carefully as if I was going to be graded on it. I thought about it this past weekend as I was perusing the profiles of the French presidential candidates, prior to the French Presidential election, with the same concentration I gave both the U.S. elections and the Brexit referendum, and I self-diagnosed my condition as being a case of “democracy deprivation syndrome”.
Democracy Deprivation Syndrome, or DDS, is the condition of having a deep deficiency in democratic civic worthiness as a member of a democratic electorate. Those afflicted with DDS have a deep yearning to give an official vote that actually counts towards the election of an important policy or an official, but can’t.
The DDS pandemic, though not contagious, is widespread amongst inhabitants of the Middle East and the Middle Eastern genome (even if they have a second nationality, Middle Easterners still exhibit DDS symptoms due to name and racial belongings). The syndrome represents a large spectrum of symptoms whose severity can vary dramatically from one individual to another. Mild cases can go undiagnosed (e.g. victim does not post anything on social media, even though s/he reads the news with angst), while other cases can potentially lead to severe, debilitating complications (e.g. victim frantically posts long opinions on social media telling people what to do, and stops talking to friends who disagree with his/her political choices, even though those friends also have NO say in said elections either).
Regardless of the severity of the syndrome, all those affected with DDS harbor feelings of deep frustration, because not only can’t they determine their own fate in their own country, but almost always, they are pawns in the game of those who can. Indeed, people with DDS are particularly vulnerable to what people in “other democratic nations” decide in their own elections, because ultimately it affects their livelihood. For example, guy with DDS sitting in Baghdad helplessly watching the U.S. Elections will unfortunately die of an explosion with whole family in a couple of years cuz guy in Florida voted for Bush. That’s just a classic example. Guy in Florida, however, will not die of DDS, but will probably die of a self-inflicted gunshot wound that he will mistakenly shoot into his femoral artery while cleaning his gun. But that’s another topic.
Resultantly, people with DDS are often linked to another dangerous and intractable syndrome called PPDFTUFU, the acronym stands for “Please, Please, Don’t Fuck This Up For Us” syndrome, which is a widespread genetic metabolic disorder characterized by a deep, deep fear of what people in first world countries will decide in their own elections for people in third world countries. Both DDS and PPDFTUFU have no cure today. Even though lots of funding has been poured by foreign entities into building research labs looking to find a cure, those same foreign entities seem to bomb those labs, which leaves all those afflicted with DDS super confused.
Democracy is a privilege. The people with DDS and PPDFTUFU know it.
My name is Sara El-Yafi, and I have DDS.


  • Marwan Chebaro says:

    Beautifully choreographed article and is rich with a healthy dose of sobering painful humor.
    In the west, when the electorate are out in force voting, little do they know how casting their vote will seal our fate.

  • F. A. says:

    Is it normal that I’ve read this 5 times? #addicted

  • Dana Mansour-Hable says:

    Please read the smart, educated, insightful, and funny blog of this political analyst about DDS, and what it means to be out of the democratic process in a less than powerful country…
    I can call this humour-filled Political analyst my cousin Sara, of which I’m very proud…??❤️

  • Nay Rouhban El-Yafi says:


  • Emile Khoury says:

    Very funny. I wish DDS would go viral. Definitely makes for better citizens.

  • Dana Mansour Hable says:

    Dear Saroura, I have a deep, nagging feeling that there are A LOT of people feeling disconnected & powerless to effect change even if they have been citizens of a developed country and even (especially?) when they vote.
    Two cases in point:
    – The American elections where we were forced to choose between Stinky 1 & Stinky 2…. and still getting the same corporate, warmongering, double talking prez election after election decade after decade…
    – The French élection where they have the same aforementioned situation. Reading the French press & listening to the French people shows how disillusioned a lot of them are, and feeling powerless to find a candidate that’s not currier, working for the corporations, selling out the regular citizens to European/ International interests…
    So I guess democracy may have become an illusion in many “Democratic countries”.
    Just my 2-cent….

  • Sabah MALLAT FOURNIER says:

    My name is Sabah MALLAT and I am suffering from DDS right from the start. ??

  • Alexander Keefe says:

    John Oliver, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver should read this. As well as The Daily Show and Trevor Noah. This article is almost better than their material. Read it, guys.

  • Fida Krayem says:

    You are brilliant. How do we make this go viral? Everyday, I read so many useless and silly articles with hundreds of comments, but THIS deserves to be read by millions.

  • Nicholas Haddad says:

    This is so good. It is dripping with wit, hilarity, and TRUTH. LOVE IT!!!!!

  • Jihad Krayem says:

    Absolutely, breathtakingly true and brilliant. And so witty as usual.

  • Naji S. Ali-Adeeb says:

    المضحك المبكي

  • Joy Mjdl says:

    Fucking yes

  • Lubna Izzidin says:

    Brilliant and a must read!
    My name is Lubna Izziddin, and I have DDS.

  • Diane Assaf says:

    This is brilliant!!

  • Nadine Labaki says:

    I Just Love your wit and your sense of humor ! ❤️

  • Amer Al Rassas says:

    hahaha. this is great.

  • Caline Boulos Kilajian says:

    Love the article, but Lebanon is not a third world country 🙂 A developing country maybe, but definitely not third world. I looked all over to find it listed anywhere as such, but happily couldn’t ?

    • Sobhi Itani says:

      Unfortunately, Lebanon is very much part of the Third World. The Third World describes the developing countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America that have low economic development, high corruption, low utilization of natural resources, and heavy dependence on industrialized nations.
      Lebanon ranks highest in the corruption index, utilizes none of its resources, cannot even secure electricity and water to its inhabitants (even those in Beirut), and depends heavily both politically and economically on other nations. We are the very definition of the Third World. Let’s not be in denial.

    • Sobhi Itani says:

      PS: Love the article too 🙂

      • Caline Boulos Kilajian says:

        Loool am not in denial 🙂 actually, if we go exactly by the definition we are a developing country, not third world. Third world countries are categorized in terms of political and civil liberties, gross national income, human development, poverty and freedom of press- we are not on any of those official lists

      • Caline Boulos Kilajian says:

        I looked 🙂

        • Sobhi Itani says:

          Caline Boulos Kilajian Haha, oh the power of Google. “Developing world” and “Third world” are interchangeable phrases. They mean the same thing.

  • Joan Stalker says:

    Loved this. So true!

  • Yara Σααμπ says:

    That is ME in your drawing.

  • Tarek Mnaimne says:

    I cant decide if this is just hilarious or a terrifyingly insightful glips into my mind lol

  • Sobhi Itani says:

    Hilarious, witty, and true.

  • Tanya Kassem says:

    Sara, this is genius work. Made me laugh and think! As usual.

  • Ruund Jolix says:

    I didn’t know you could draw so well 🙂

  • Wassef Ezzedine says:

    Along those lines Churchill said “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”…

  • Michelle Rebosio says:

    I have this too!

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