YES FOR THE FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY!

Voting is underway in Iraq. Hammorabi summarises the issues:

Our voting is:
No to the terrorists!
No to the dictatorships!
No to hate and racism!
No to the fascists!
No to the Nazis!
No to the mentally retarded tyrants!
No to the ossified, narrow-minded and intolerants!
The Iraqis are voting in few hours time for the new Iraq.
We are going to create our future by ourselves not by dictators.

We are going to say:
Yes for the freedom and democracy!
Yes for the civilized Iraq!
Yes for peace and prosperity!
Yes for coexistence!
Yes for the New Iraq!
Let them bomb and kill us. It will not deter us!
Let them send their dogs to suck our bones. We care not!
Let them bark. It will not frighten us.
Let them see how civilised to be free and democratic!
Let them die by our vote tomorrow! It is the magic bullet which will kill them!
Welcome New Iraq.
Welcome freedom and democracy.
Welcome peace and prosperity for all nations with out exception but terrorists!

What he said. Jeff Jarvis has a comprehensive roundup of other Iraqi views, and Friends of Democracy—edited by Michael Totten, with contributors all over Iraq—is seeking reader input for upcoming C-SPAN election coverage (among guests who’ll field your questions: Christopher Hitchens). Head over there now.

UPDATE. The first several hours of election TV, as viewed by Roger L. Simon. Sharp, funny, and opinionated, just the way you like it.

UPDATE II. It’s the opposite of the Damning But:

At least 20 people have been killed in eight separate suicide attacks on polling stations in Iraq but voters are defying insurgents’ bombs and casting their ballots in an historic poll.

UPDATE III. Egad! Positive news from the ABC:

The chief United Nations electoral official in Iraq says the turnout of voters in some parts of the country is exceeding expectations, despite the violence and intimidation.

UPDATE IV. Mohammed’s inspiring pre-election post has drawn 797 comments.

UPDATE V. Mixed reports from BBC correspondents throughout Iraq:

Roaa Al-Zarari: There’s been a problem in Hamdiya, just outside Mosul. This town is inhabited by Christians and Chaldeans.

But no ballot boxes have been sent there. Residents shouted at the local district officers demanding boxes to be sent.

Fadel al Badrani: A number of polling stations have opened in [Falluja] in the north, north-east, and inside the public park. The turnout to all these stations is very low.

Paul Wood: So far there have been nine suicide bombings in Baghdad, including two car bombs … We have seen voting here in the capital, and in the streets close to the BBC office the atmosphere was almost euphoric.

Christian Fraser: We were told the Shia would turn out in big numbers and so it has proved. From Basra to Al Amarah, to the northern most sections of the British zone, thousands of people are lined up on the streets.

Mohammad Hussein: A lot of women turned out and their numbers dwarf those of the men. I have seen very old people unable to walk, I have seen blind people being led to the polling stations.

Caroline Hawley: Iraqi authorities have told us there have now been seven suicide bombings carried out by men with explosives strapped around their bodies. There has also been a mortar attack in Sadr City in Baghdad which killed four voters.

Ben Brown: Turnout [in Basra] has been extraordinary. We’ve been to a few polling stations in the city centre and we’ve seen huge queues of men and women who were searched separately. Some have had to wait for an hour before casting their ballot.

Jim Muir: There are very big crowds starting to form at the polling station in the centre of Arbil.

(Via Arthur Chrenkoff, who has many more useful links.)

UPDATE VI. Inky goodness!

UPDATE VII. The Guardian describes murderous assaults as retaliation:

Iraqis voted in nationwide elections today and insurgents retaliated with attacks on polling stations.

Iraqi officials reported a turnout of 72%, but at least 22 people were killed in attacks across the country.

As usual, a guest appearance from the Damning But. (Via J.F. Beck)

UPDATE VIII. Robert Fisk is soooooo cynical:

Yes, I know how it’s all going to be played out. Iraqis bravely vote despite the bloodcurdling threats of the enemies of democracy. At last, the US and British policies have reached fruition. A real and functioning democracy will be in place so the occupiers can leave soon. Or next year. Or in a decade or so. Merely to hold these elections – an act of folly in the eyes of so many Iraqis – will be a “success”.

Happy No Thanks Day, Bobby.

UPDATE IX. The BBC’s Mohammad Hussein mentioned above that he’d seen old people being helped to polling stations. Here’s one fellow in Suleimaniya being carried to the polls.

UPDATE X. CNN examines turnout numbers and reports:

In the northeastern town of Baquba, CNN’s Jane Arraf found a polling station where a long line of Iraqi voters chanted and clapped their hands in front of the camera.

One voter told Arraf that Sunday’s vote was a “bullet in the heart of the enemy.”

Further north in the Kurdistan town of Salamanca, CNN’s Nic Robertson reported seeing a 90-year-old woman being taken to a booth in a wheelbarrow. Others came on crutches to cast their ballot.

UPDATE XI. Positive news from—wait for it— Reuters:

There was quiet determination in the air as voters turned out in force in Basra, a relatively peaceful region compared with Baghdad and the Sunni Arab heartlands of central Iraq.

“We are very happy for this day. It’s like Eid—a celebration,” said Jassim Mohammed Jassim, an election observer from the Islamic Daawa Party.

With cars banned from the city center, people strolled from their neighborhoods in groups or with their families. Children played football in the middle of a normally busy highway.

It’s kind of like Michael Moore’s version of Iraq, as shown in Fahrenheit 9/11. Except without the dictator killing people and his son dragging women away to rape.

UPDATE XII. How do Doonesbury characters breathe, exactly? It must be difficult when you’ve got a cheese wedge for a nose. (Via Jim Treacher in comments.)

UPDATE XIII. Yet more positive news from Reuters (via J.F. Beck, reeling in astonishment):

Millions of Iraqis turned out to vote Sunday, defying anti-U.S. insurgents determined to drown the historic poll in blood.

Even in Falluja, the devastated Sunni city west of Baghdad that was a militant stronghold until a U.S. assault in November, a slow stream of people turned out, confounding expectations.

“We want to be like other Iraqis, we don’t want to always be in opposition,” said Ahmed Jassim, smiling after voting.

UPDATE XIV. The Sydney Morning Herald’s Paul McGeough performs the rare Reverse Damning But:

Voting in Iraq’s first attempt at democratic elections in half a century opened to a deadly barrage of explosions across the capital. But even before it closed early today, Sydney time, the ballot had prevailed over the bullets and the bombs.

McGeough also notes: “The provisional figures will be seen as a stunning victory for Washington’s policy of democratising the Middle East and will cause great anxiety among the region’s unelected leaders.”

And journalists.

UPDATE XV. To hell with you, McGruder.

Posted by Tim B. on 01/30/2005 at 01:21 AM
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