Ali Mir was not a candidate in this year’s SAC election. Why then, does the Facebook page “Vote for Ali Mir” have more attendees than any other MGCI election page this year? Why did he grab the microphone on the day of the speeches and tell a cheering, adoring crowd to remember to check off his name? How has he gathered so much attention in such a short amount of time?
The “Vote for Ali Mir” page has nearly 200 attendees. According to the description, it all began as a joke in response to the spam-like Facebook campaigns employed by many real SAC candidates this year. But it grew to much more than that. Ali’s impromptu performance at the SAC speeches landed him a three-day suspension for disrupting the speeches, and for later talking back to the principal.
But Ali is not an aimless jokester looking to cause havoc – he has a clear and strong message. His voice was silenced from within the school, but here he speaks openly to The Reckoner about his struggle.
Ali, you’ve become quite the celebrity in the school. How did the “Vote for Ali Mir” campaign begin and what inspired you to run for dictator?
The whole Vote for Ali campaign began when I heard about other students running for VP, or President. The only problem I had with that was I could tell these kids aren’t really going to make the school different. All these candidates had somewhat the same speeches, the same ideas and the same boring old routine. I wanted to run for VP, or President but unfortunately we needed to have at least 1-year’s experience in the SAC office, and so I decided to make up my own title “dictator” and run in the elections. I was hoping to grab the students’ attention and make them see that even an average student pretending to run for something can make the school much more fun and exciting.
How exactly did you plan on “making Garneau a sexier place”?
When I said I was going to make Garneau a sexier place I meant I was going to make it much more fun. Every student has their own problems, it could be relationships, their grades, work, or even their family and coming to a boring school with grey walls and built like a prison will just make the student even more depressed. I was planning on not only creating more fun events but I was going to try to make every lunch more fun too. I wanted the whole school to come out and have fun as a whole.
What exactly happened on the day of the speeches?
On the day of the speeches, so I quickly got ready and ran to the café during my spare. I was planning on going on stage after the speeches were done and say my small speech telling people to vote for me. So I was on my way to the café but the café doors were stuck, so I had to kick it a little… making a huge sound. Everyone turned around and saw me and then they all started cheering “Vote for Ali Mir!” Ms Liebster then told me to get out. I didn’t tell anyone to start cheering so it wasn’t my fault. So I got kicked out. I then decided to run around the school to the back of the stage. That’s where I waited till the speeches were almost done, I then came on top of stage, grabbed the mic, played some music and told everyone to vote for me. A few seconds later I was I was running away from the principal.
Do you think your punishment was a fair one?
I don’t think my punishment was fair. I didn’t ruin anyone’s speech, and I only did it to make the students more interested in the elections. On the day the principal was discussing what I did, she wouldn’t let me prove my side of the story. She told me that if I say one word, they’d suspend me for 20 days, which I don’t think is fair.
Apparently some people were punished for booing the speeches. What do you think about that?
I heard about some kids being punished for booing and I think punishing them was a good thing, as long as the punishment was small. The students running for elections worked hard and they shouldn’t be booed at just because someone may not like their idea. If the students don’t like their idea, they can go up to them afterwards and tell them about it.
Do you think that our school gives too much attention and drama to the SAC election campaigns?
No, I don’t think the school gives too much attention to the SAC elections because it’s kind of a big deal. The students who are chosen will represent the school. They’ll be the ones changing the school, adding or removing events.
If given the chance, what would be the one thing you would change about the way our school is run?
I would change the way the principal adds new rules. The principal always adds something new that makes it harder for the student to enjoy being at school. If she decides to put something new in the school, she should ask all the students about it and bring it to a vote. If any rules affect the student, then the students should have a say in it.