Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Iraqi Vote: First Reactions

It will be a day forever remembered. My voting was only a simple act, I went, I identified myself, got my finger stained, filled out a ballot, and dropped it in a box. It is not a complex or grand process to the eye, but it is one that I will forever remember and will recount to my children, and their children. And God willing it will be remembered through the ages.

Husayn, Democracy in Iraq

I'm about to go to the voting center to cast my vote and I thought I should post few words to thank all my friends, the readers of this blog for their support and love for me, my brothers and all Iraqis. There was some fire exchange early this morning and American helicopters were patroling the sky above my head but now it seems quite. I turned on TV to see if there was any coverage but no Arab channel is reporting yet.


Thanks again for your care and may God bless you all and give you a hundred times what you have gave Iraq. I know it seems impossible when it comes to those who lost their beloved ones but I hope they know that theie sacrifices were not in vain and that they gave humanity the most precious thing a man has, his life.

Ali, Free Iraqi

The women took advantage of the national holiday declared for today's election to promenade through the center of this holy Shi'ite city. Shop owners lolled about on carpets by the shrine of Imam Ali, flicking worry beads, bouncing children on their knees, and gossiping with friends.

Despite the presence of thousands of special police and Iraqi National Guardsmen, Najaf had the festive air yesterday of a country in celebration

"In Najaf, Celebratory Shi'ites Envision a Future", Boston Globe, January 30, 2005

So far, the news from Iraq is incredibly encouraging. Turnout is reportedly high, and most Iraqis seem to be undeterred by the barbarous threats of the Baathist and Wahhabist terrorists. While there have been a number of suicide bombings and other attacks, there have not been the mass casualty incidents that everyone feared. God willing, that will continue to be the case.

Most of the news has been frankly inspiring. According to Sheppard Smith of Fox News, voters continue to line up by the hundreds at a west Baghdad polling place subjected to a suicide attack. Another report is that thousands are walking 13 miles from the Baghdad suburb of Abu Ghraib to the nearest polling place to cast their ballots. Jane Arraf of CNN in Baqubah was literally drowned out by the singing of jubilant Iraqis waiting in line to vote. Finally, some polling places have reportedly started to run out of ballots, and it still isn't even noon in Iraq.

It's far too early to celebrate, and a lot can still happen. But if present trends continue, today will prove a historic and decisive day for Iraq, the Arab world, and the struggle against Islamist terror.


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