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January 28, 2005
More Evidence Of Iraqi Enthusiasm, Part II

The news of Iraqi enthusiasm in advance of their first free elections after decades of oppression keep leaking through the indifference of the mainstream media. In this case, the Times of London sent their correspondent, Richard Beeston, to Baghdad in order to gauge public sentiment. Surprisingly, he reports a palpable sense of historical change:

FOR decades, voting in Iraq meant taking part in a national exercise of state-enforced adulation, as 99 per cent of the electorate would dutifully turn out to tick the box beside the name Saddam Hussein.

Yesterday the contrast could not have been starker, as the campaign for Sundays elections picked up pace and voters were presented with a dizzying selection of dozens of candidates and parties.

Notwithstanding insurgent terror aimed at wrecking the polls, there is finally a palpable sense in Baghdad, and other Iraqi cities, that the country is entering a new era. ...

I think that despite everything, many Iraqis will vote on Sunday, Fadel Alfatlwi, the head of the Iraqi Institute for Peace and an independent candidate, said. With the occupation and all the horrible things that have happened, people dream that they will be wealthy and happy. That dream starts with the election.

Beeston includes several anecdotes from what has been painted as a free-fire zone by American media showing that serious political campaigning has been conducted in Baghdad. Tribal sheikhs attend speeches lauding the strong leadership of Iyad Allawi. Kurds in Baghdad celebrate the upcoming elections with chocolate cake, dancing, and reminders to vote. Children have paying jobs passing out literature and putting up posters -- and, as Beeston wryly notes, taking some down as well. Multiple and diverse interests are represented on the Iraqi ballot, including Islamists, monarchists, secular Shi'a and religious Sunni, and even Communists, who paradoxically have been democracy's biggest supporters.

Contrast this with the image of Baghdad we receive daily from American media, most of whom can't or won't staff the city with their own reporters. Americans are told over and over again that the city is so wracked with violence that Iraq's largest city can't possibly be included in its first parliamentary election. And yet here we have plenty of political activity, even celebrations of it, occurring out in the open. None of the above happened spontaneously, after all; they needed some planning and publicity to succeed.

It shows that the Iraqis have the courage to see the elections through, as they clearly understand that the only way to truly set themselves free is to take power into their own hands. They have braved the car-bombing cowards and stand on the edge of a tremendous victory over them. Too bad so many Americans have so little faith in these Iraqi democrats.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 28, 2005 5:57 AM

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» Daily Dish from The Cool Blue Blog
Two days to go until the elections in Iraq. Enthusiasm is growing. Political debate is occurring despite the danger. In Iraq, everyone is talking about the election all the time. And even Sunnis are lining up to vote. Its becoming [Read More]

Tracked on January 28, 2005 6:46 AM

» Iraq's Election Buzz from Secure Liberty
Despite all you hear, the Iraqi people want to vote. (H/T Captain's Quarters) They want a chance to control their destiny. Yes, I imagine that they even expect that by voting they will get us the heck out of Iraq sooner. FOR decades, voting in Iraq... [Read More]

Tracked on January 28, 2005 9:08 AM

» The MSM's transparent hope for Iraq election failure from EtherHouse
When you have sufficiently demonized your political foe, you can no longer accept any of his actions as right or good. Therefore, elections in Iraq must be a disaster, and if there's no apparent way in which they are a disaster, the MSM will ... [Read More]

Tracked on January 28, 2005 11:22 AM

» An appropriate enthusiasm from The Key Monk
The pundit class is ho-hum, the Western media is comprised of Doubting Thomases, but the people who count seem to be highly enthusiastic about the election they'll vote in on Sunday: [Read More]

Tracked on January 28, 2005 12:14 PM

» Belief Is A Choice from Citizen Z

With less than two days before Iraqis go to the polls, Captain Ed finds more reasons for optimistism regarding the election.  ...

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» On the Eve of Elections Iraq Needs Christian Voters from bLogicus
Iraq prepares to enter the international community of free nations with tomorrows historic election. Anyone reading the headlines would think that no one will be voting in the election. For example, Reuters leads with "Iraq to Vote Shadowed by Threat ... [Read More]

Tracked on January 29, 2005 5:51 PM



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