January 31, 2005

Kudos To Iraqis

The bravery of the millions of people who turned out to the polls in Iraq deserves a mention and a lot of respect.

At polling stations across the country there were women in veils holding the hands of children, and men on crutches, and people who had been maimed during the terrible years of Saddam, and old people. Among those lined up to vote in Baghdad was Samir Hassan, a 32-year-old man who lost a leg in the blast of a car bomb last year. He told a reporter, "I would have crawled here if I had to." - nytimes.com

44 people were killed in attacks on polling stations and voters. I've read a couple of editorial comments that pointed out that the electorate was woefully uninformed (some thought they were voting for a President, rather than a transitional National Assembly), and that largely Sunni areas had a lower turnout than Shi'ite and Kurdish areas, and that violence and intimidation were widespread.

But you know what? Even if the voters weren't entirely sure how the system worked (I have sympathy, after the FPP/MMP changeover), they made a definite and resounding statement of desire for stability, restoration of quality of life, and freedom, just by participating. And since the voter turnout was estimated at an average of 60% in most areas, that's a pretty powerful message to the insurgents.

Posted by phreq at January 31, 2005 04:59 PM | TrackBack


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