Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Ladybird: Iraqis Want to Vote!

Ladybird urges Iraqis to vote and includes what other Iraqis are saying in the lead-up to elections on Sunday. (Hat tip: Mister Ghost) She writes:
Registration has been extended by two more days in most countries! Please check the website www.iraqocv.org for an updated list of these countries where you can now register on 24 and 25 January 2005 from 08:00 to 19:00 local time! Please help the Iraq Out-of-Country Voting Program inform Iraqis around the world about the extension of registration. Pass this onto your friends and family to spread the word and get as many Iraqis as possible on board!

Meanwhile, over at Iraq Elections Blog, Emigre, an Aussie lass with no connection to the Middle East or Iraq, is urging Iraqis NOT to vote.
It is utterly and totally ridiculous for an occupying army to try and promote an election. It is just ludicrous in the extreme. It’s not as if Iraq has never had an election before. Saddam Hussein used to have them regularly. He was the only candidate of course. But how different is that from an election under fire where most of the candidates names aren’t even published for security reasons?

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Hamza Hendawi, in an unusally even-handed article for the AP, interviews two up-beat Iraqis who are looking forward to voting on Sunday.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - In a country wracked by violence, a tiny bookstore in a dusty mall offers a quiet corner where customers can escape the misery and the owners can dare to sound hopeful.

Here students too poor to finance their studies can borrow books for a week at 20 cents each, and the two men who own the Iqra'a bookstore can indulge their conviction that their business is also a mission.

Such positive attitudes set Mohammed Hanash Abbas and Attallah Zeidan apart in a country where the prevailing mood has been shaped by three wars since 1980, almost 13 years of crushing sanctions, the humiliation of foreign occupation and the brutality of the insurgency.

"I don't just see light at the end of the tunnel, I see light at the start and throughout the tunnel," says Abbas, 41, in a typically upbeat remark. His partner Zeidan, 39, agrees.

"We must live like other people," Zeidan says. "Let a million of us die. That's the price of freedom. Have you heard of any society that gained freedom without sacrifices?"

...

As members of the long-oppressed Shiite majority, Abbas and Zeidan believe the election offers them a new deal. But they say they're sorry that many Sunni Arabs are likely to boycott the polls.

"I often debate the election with my Sunni friends," said Abbas. "I keep telling them: 'Go to the polling stations and cast a blank ballot. If you just go, that will be a victory over terrorism and dictatorship.' For me, I will vote even if it costs me my life."

"This election represents what is possible," Zeidan chimed in. "It's the only chance we have. To me, it's the start of a new life, the exercise of a right we never had before."

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Antimedia, a blogger out of Texas, has started to provide the kind of critical reading of the media output that is now, because of the internet and blogging, more possible than ever before.
This is almost funny

The AP releases a story headlined Iraq Forces Arrest Top al-Qaida Lieutenant. So what's the opening to the story?

A suicide driver detonated a car bomb outside the prime minister's party headquarters Monday, injuring at least 10 people in a blast claimed by the al-Qaida affiliate in Iraq. Authorities, meanwhile, announced the arrest of an al-Qaida figure allegedly behind the vast majority of the car bombings in Baghdad.

It's almost as if good news is just another excuse for printing bad news. In fact you have to plow through 12 paragraphs of bad news to get to the point of the headline.

A top lieutenant of al-Zarqawi's terror group, Sami Mohammed Ali Said al-Jaaf, also known as Abu Omar al-Kurdi, was arrested during a raid in Baghdad on Jan. 15, a government statement said Monday.

Al-Jaaf was responsible for 32 car bombings that killed hundreds of Iraqis, the statement said. The suspect "confessed to building approximately 75 percent of the car bombs used in attacks in Baghdad since March 2003," Allawi spokesman Thaer al-Naqib said in the statement.

Al-Jaaf was "the most lethal of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's lieutenants," the statement said. He "claims responsibility for some of the most ruthless attacks on Iraqi police forces and police stations."

Two other militants linked to al-Zarqawi's terror group also have been arrested, authorities said — a man described as the chief of al-Zarqawi's propaganda operations and one of the group's weapons suppliers.

Do you suppose they're hoping readers won't bother to get that far? Or they'll be so depressed by the time they get there it won't matter?

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