Saturday, January 31, 2009

Democracy in the Heart of the Middle East

Iraqis have gone to the polls today and we're starting to get some responses from the Iraqi bloggers. Sami (Skies) writes (Return of the Violet Fingers):
In the voting room I saw very beautiful women. They were all smiling. They were very very kind as if from heaven. I voted. They said: "Thank you". I said: "thank you" with a smile and went walking. I saw many families walking happy. The father's and mother's index fingers are colored by that ink. I saw him coming. We greeted each other with kisses like Iraqis usually do. I went back with him waiting while he voted. He didn't ask me for whom I voted. Nor I did ask him. We are Iraqis with different views and this is our way to show respect to each other. We went back walking slowly and talking about memories of how our quarter was so beautiful before hoping that it will regain its charm while we were proud of our violet fingers.

Salam Pax, using Twitter, has given us updates throughout the day. Here is a selection from earlier today:
Polls open now for 7hrs and no news of any violence. Now that's what i call progress.

is is going very smoothly here in central Baghdad.. almost a non-event, no fear, no worry.. which in itself is remarkable.

Polling stations in Iraq close in two minutes. Could this be our frist incident free elections?

Voting in Iraq ends. No bombs, no deaths.. just people voting. The grumbling about fraud has started but, hey, it's all been violence free!

These were local council elections, John, it was all about security, rebuilding, jobs, etc. Obama didn't get mentionned much

No matter who wins in these elections.. Iraqis were able to vote peacefully and that's a big deal

Caesar of Pentra describes his day and trip to the voting booth (2009 Provincial Elections).
[I]t's 6:09 pm Baghdad local time. The voting is over. Luckily, no serious accident has been registered. Again, Everyone honest and wants to serve Iraq and intends to bulid Iraq to be a powerful and prosper country, I wish them all the success to achieve that goal.

A LOOK BACK TO 2002: Saddam Hussein Wins One-Man Race (CBS)
Iraq declared Saddam Hussein the winner Wednesday - by an 11 million-to-0 margin - in a war-shadowed referendum on his two-decade military rule, sending celebratory gunfire crackling from the streets and rooftops of Baghdad.

The 100 percent turnout, 100 percent 'yes' vote shows all Iraqis are poised to defend Saddam against American forces, the country's No. 2 man said.

"If they come, we will fight them in every village, and every house," said Izzat Ibrahim, vice chairman of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council, announcing results on what Iraq billed as a people's referendum on keeping Saddam in power another seven years.

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