Vote or die

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Last updated on March 5th, 2018 at 01:40 pm

You’re familiar with the Damning But. Now scream with delight as you encounter this Damning DOUBLE But in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Shiites defy gunmen in hope of freedom

But, writes Paul McGeough in Baghdad, it was only a personal threat of violence that motivated some people to go to the polls.

Many took courage and refused to bow to the gunmen. But in a city of many moods, others came to the polling stations only because of the gun at their backs.

Those “guns�? McGeough mentions; they aren’t exactly abundant throughout his report:

In the Shiite quarter Al-Salam City, Abdul Hussein Abbas, 54, a car dealer, said he was voting for List 169, the coalition of Shiite religious parties. “And then I’m going home to throw a party – we have sweets and chocolates to distribute in the street,” he said.

Guns, sweets … what’s the difference?

His Shiite neighbours – Satar Jabar, 37, a telecommunications worker, and Mouid Khalid al-Douri, 44, a taxi driver – also voted for the religious parties. Mr Douri declared: “This is a great day for the Shiites – to vote is to be free.”

What he really meant to say was: “Ouch! Gun in my back!�?

Despite all the threats and a mortar attack on a polling station that killed four voters, residents of the slums of Sadr City, a Saddam Hussein creation that is home to about 2 million Shiites, said that the turnout was “huge”.

He wouldn’t have been so enthusiastic without the business end of an AK-47 jemmed against his spine, I bet.

As a tribal sheik, 60-year-old Hamid Chiati is a big man. As a Shiite in the ghetto his home is a small house off a small street, but he was filled with the big idea that the Shiites were poised to claim a destiny that slipped through their fingers almost a century ago – control of Iraq.

“Yes, we still face explosions, kidnapping and killing. But already the new Iraq is better even when we don’t have bread.

“We don’t have water, but we are happy. Electricity – no. But we’re better off because under Saddam no one respected us – and today they do. That’s more important than bread or water or electricity.”

Or guns, apparently. Where are the guns?

Across town, “white flag” notices were going up in the Shiite mosques of Al-Salam City. Naming people who were Baathists, Shiite and Sunni, they threaten execution unless those named hung a white flag from their homes and voted in the elections.

P.Diddy’s influence is remarkable. Incidentally, according to McGeough, the number of “vote or die�? targets came to … 16.

UPDATE. Margo Kingston, who predicted the death of democracy in Australia, isn’t too pleased with the health of Iraqi democracy either:

The Iraqis, some of them anyway, have voted to elect people to then elect a Prime Minister and draw up a Constitution to put to the people at the end of the year. A few readers have asked me to dash off a comment piece on the election’s success.

For a start, we don’t yet know for sure what percentage of people voted and how many didn’t because the occupiers have not restored order. Offical assessments started at 80 percent and are now down to 60 percent. And we don’t know the results yet, of course, and whether the interim government will or won’t ask the occupiers to leave in accordance with the wishes of a substantial majority of Iraqis, according to the latest Zogby Poll. We also don’t know if the election was substantially free of corruption.

If Margo wrote about things she did know, her columns could fit on a baby’s fingernail. That’s all of her columns, written in longhand, using a paint roller.

Posted by Tim B. on 01/31/2005 at 09:28 AM
    1. In the comments thread titled “Newspaper attempts to read minds” I posted this comment yesterday:

      “As Paul McGeough has repeatedly demonstrated IYAD ALLAWI SHOT ALL THE NON VOTERS!!! “

      Today McGeough writes:

      “it was only a personal threat of violence that motivated some people to go to the polls. “

      I don’t wish to blow my own trumpet, but damn I’m good! Does anyone want next weeks lottery numbers?

      Posted by Ross on 2005 01 31 at 10:39 AM • permalink


    1. “Vote or die”? I thought it was “vote and die”.

      I’m so confused…

      Posted by david on 2005 01 31 at 10:39 AM • permalink


    1. Aaron McGruder sells “vote and die. The Big Mac G (greasy and bad for you) sells “vote or die.” I guess for the left, it’s, “what the hell, as long as somebody dies.”

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2005 01 31 at 11:01 AM • permalink


    1. GULF WARS


      Posted by Richard_of_Oz on 2005 01 31 at 11:10 AM • permalink


    1. Well, we don’t know if the Rovian Mind-Control Ray was deployed. We don’t know if the Iraqis used a Dade County butterfly ballot. We don’t know if US Marines dressed in burqas and voted. We don’t know if everyone displaying the Purple Finger got paid off with a porterhouse steak and curly fries. Until we have answers, we must ignore this good news from Iraq.

      Oh, and Allawi is a murderer. Some dude in Iraq told us he saw it.

      Posted by Dave S. on 2005 01 31 at 12:15 PM • permalink


    1. This is great. I was really looking forward to watching the MSM twist itself into knots trying to portray yesterday’s election in a negative light.

      Posted by Van Helsing on 2005 01 31 at 01:28 PM • permalink


    1. Yesterday, John “Horse Face” Kerry appeared on Meet the Press (a very influential political program in America) and made a world-class horse’s ass of himself, thus completing his self-horsification. He could barely bring himself to appear even mildly happy about the outcome in Iraq, even though the polls had closed a few hours earlier and it had become obvious that Iraqis and Coalition nations have a lot to be happy about.

      To think that the Nuancy-Boy (to use Mark Steyn’s moniker) came within 3 million votes of being elected leader of the Free World is really scary. America dodged a bullet on November 2.

      Posted by Butch on 2005 01 31 at 02:11 PM • permalink


    1. Bush lied! Fingers dyed!

      Posted by Paul Zrimsek on 2005 01 31 at 03:25 PM • permalink


    1. Here’s part of what Kerry said on Meet the Press:

      “I think it’s gone as expected. […] [I]t is significant that there is a vote in Iraq. But no one in the United States or in the world– and I’m confident of what the world response will be. No one in the United States should try to overhype this election. This election is a sort of demarcation point, and what really counts now is the effort to have a legitimate political reconciliation, and it’s going to take a massive diplomatic effort and a much more significant outreach to the international community than this administration has been willing to engage in. [Really? Exactly what kind of outreach, and to whom, Senator?] Absent that, we will not be successful in Iraq.”

      So there is our Senator manqué and his typical weasel words: “significant,” “overhype,” “outreach.”

      According to Kerry we mustn’t take satsfaction in having simply done the right thing. Most of all, we mustn’t thank the troops – and certainly not George Bush, heaven forbid! – for making this amazing event possible, nosiree.

      A total loser.

      Posted by Butch on 2005 01 31 at 03:29 PM • permalink


    1. “Yes, we still face explosions, kidnapping and killing. But already the new Iraq is better even when we don’t have bread.”

      I get so bemused with MSM reports (turn irony detectors to HIGH) from Iraq. A week ago we were told that Imaad and his Mommy threw out a whole reefer full of cheese ‘cos it wasn’t made in Iraq. Now we hear that this poor bugger doesn’t have any bread.
      Adding to my confusion is the fact that all the Iraqis I see on television news reports appear to be rather well nourished.
      Could the SMH, WaPo, et al be getting it wrong?

      Posted by Boss Hog on 2005 01 31 at 03:44 PM • permalink


    1. Mr Douri declared: “This is a great day for the Shiites – to vote is to be free.”

      Welcome, Mr. Douri! Yes, to vote is to be free.

      Posted by m on 2005 01 31 at 04:08 PM • permalink



      Count Galeazzo Ciano, Mussolini’s foreign minister, once said that
      “Victory has a hundred fathers, but defeat is an orphan,”
      Looks like Iraq just picked up a couple more Daddys.

      Posted by Boss Hog on 2005 01 31 at 04:10 PM • permalink


    1. Margo:

      A few readers have asked me to dash off a comment piece on the election’s success.

      Who? Who did that? Who? Who? You people STOP that! Asking her questions, it only makes her ANSWER.

      Posted by m on 2005 01 31 at 04:12 PM • permalink


    1. …it’s going to take a massive diplomatic effort and a much more significant outreach to the international community than this administration has been willing to engage in.

      Poor John Kerry.  Still mewling over the UN and France’s lack of participation.  Of course no election could be legitimate without their input and guidance.

      Say, John?  How’s that tsunami relief effort going?

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2005 01 31 at 04:16 PM • permalink


    1. On Instapundit:

      GORDON SMITH: “If I were George Bush, I would hold up an ink-stained finger in the State of the Union address this week.”


      Posted by m on 2005 01 31 at 04:20 PM • permalink


    1. Just how many does it take to be “a few?” Three?  Two only?  Any at all?  Is Margo allowed to make them up from among the voices in her head?  (I admit it, I just jealous of Margo because the voices don’t talk to me.) Would she be willing to name names?  Enquiring minds want to know.

      Posted by JorgXMcKie on 2005 01 31 at 04:41 PM • permalink


    1. Margo! Sheeees back!

      Funny how Margo is now disregarding the political process and prefers the Zogby poll – privatised democracy.

      Zogby was a tad out calling the US election and his observation of oil prices as being an infallible indicator is on par with gazing on chicken entrails.

      Posted by rog2 on 2005 01 31 at 05:06 PM • permalink


    1. Who wouldn’t risk a mortar attack to vote when there’s a lolly pointed at their head?

      Posted by Hamish McFootpath on 2005 01 31 at 07:21 PM • permalink


    1. Red Kerry O’Brien introduced the 7.30 Report last night with:

      “will the Iraq election be representative enough to stave off the threat of civil war?”

      Even Fisk doesn’t believe it anymore!

      Posted by ArtVandelay on 2005 01 31 at 07:42 PM • permalink


    1. Word has it that the gun in their backs was the very same one that Allawi used in his infamous Dirty Harry impersonation.
      Oh Magoo, you’ve done it again!

      Posted by Brian on 2005 01 31 at 07:52 PM • permalink


    1. Paul McGeough can kiss my damn butt.

      Posted by TimT on 2005 01 31 at 07:59 PM • permalink


    1. Speaking of Old Red…”Red Kerry O’Brien”, who did the 7:30 Report get to comment on the Iraqi election? None-other than the nutty Professor Michael McKinley. Now there’s an impartial voice! Christ they pull some shit on the ABC!
      Let me just remind people of what the first words were out of ABC newsreader, Felicity Davey’s mouth, on Sunday night’s 7:00pm news. This is what she said. “The worst fears for the Iraqi election have been realised.” Like I said before, WHOSE worst fears?

      Posted by Brian on 2005 01 31 at 08:10 PM • permalink


    1. I’m sure I recall, back in the dim, dark ages at school, being taught never to begin a sentence with ‘but’ or ‘and’.

      Dunno why, but. 😉 (no smileys!)

      Posted by kae on 2005 01 31 at 08:48 PM • permalink


    1. Kae, I thought the butt always came at the end of things…

      Posted by TimT on 2005 01 31 at 09:33 PM • permalink


    1. Tim T
      Some Aussies say ‘but’ at the end of their sentences, for example, a friend of mine has been described as

      You’re not nice. You’re funny, but.

      Not sure where this is most prevalent, however in Queensland a lot of people finish a sentence with ‘ay’.

      Posted by kae on 2005 01 31 at 09:46 PM • permalink


    1. Tim T
      Oh D’oh. Just visited your site and you are in Aus. You’d know about some of the Aussie language idiosyncrasies!

      Posted by kae on 2005 01 31 at 09:51 PM • permalink


    1. #17 rog2
      Made me spew coffee, here, with the chicken entrails thing.

      Posted by m on 2005 01 31 at 10:35 PM • permalink


    1. Caught a classic moment on the ABC midday news today. They were interviewing an EU Commissioner who congratulated the Iraqi people etc etc.

      He then went on to say that “freedom and democracy” are cherished European concepts!!

      Posted by ArtVandelay on 2005 01 31 at 11:12 PM • permalink


    1. Yeah, they keep them in a museum with all the other dead white guy stuff.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2005 01 31 at 11:16 PM • permalink


    1. “freedom and democracy�? are cherished European concepts

      Yeah right.  As my Polish mate, Andrew Wasielewski, says – Everything that’s not banned in Europe is compulsory.

      Posted by murph on 2005 01 31 at 11:50 PM • permalink


    1. Yes, and don’t even consider electing any government that Brussels considers ‘far-right’.  Or for that matter, expect to be heard in the EU Parliament when you stand to speak, if you happen to be a ‘right-wing’ MEP.

      Posted by cuckoo on 2005 02 01 at 01:11 AM • permalink


    1. It’s delicious. Hillary goes down from her own methane gas production. Howard Dean is about to become the leader of the DNC.  And Kerry still knows what the world response will be, while himself having no plan at all for anyone to respond to. The quality of free entertainment continues to reassuringly astound, as rented mules abound.

      Posted by J. Peden on 2005 02 01 at 02:05 AM • permalink


    1. It was completely bizarre -it was as if he’d ripped off Bush’s Inaugeration speech!

      Re Europe: How many people do they get out to their EU elections? I remember some of the EU referenda getting under 50%.

      Posted by ArtVandelay on 2005 02 01 at 02:09 AM • permalink


    1. ”..and how many didn’t (vote)because the occupiers have not restored order.”
      Good One Margo!
      Perhaps if the occupiers rounded up everyone even suspected of thinking about doing something violent, and their friends and families, then put them all up against a wall and shot them, order would be restored. Saddam’s Order.
      Sorry Margo, BUT, every nasty, violent and counter-productive act which has been committed by those opposed to the reorganisation of Iraq only illustrates the evil which we are fighting, not the evil you want to attribute to the “Occupiers” – a term now loaded with mistaken colour and gravitas due to its over-use in “Palestinian” diatribes.
      There was a spirit of fair play and freedom which opposed the communist takeover of Eastern Europe, and its attempts to subvert the western democracies. Quite a story remains to be told there, particularly how the African nations were used as pawns and still suffer from the lingering afterburn of socialist, not colonial oppressors.
      It is the same spirit which seeks to confront violent Islamofascism.
      There is also a misguided secular view that co-existence might be worked out.
      Sorry. In Your Dreams. Reform is the key, or no existence.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2005 02 01 at 05:29 AM • permalink


    1. Now now we can be Margnanimous..

      Posted by crash on 2005 02 01 at 06:25 AM • permalink


    1. Lunatic Left Smashed….

      But they’re still stinking up the joint.

      Posted by ahem on 2005 02 01 at 06:35 PM • permalink


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