Sunday, January 30, 2005


to vote in what some early estimates are indicating to be impressively large numbers. Election day was marred by violence: at least 25 dead and over 70 wounded due to election-day attacks. And yet I can't help but conclude that this has to be seen as a dramatic victory of the human aspiration for freedom over forces that explicitly wanted to deny freedom and choice. Naturally, there will still be naysayers (another one here), "I could have done it better" Monday-morning quarterbacks, and those who might be accused of moving the goalposts a bit. But at the end of the day, the people of Iraq rose up and gave the finger--in this case an ink-stained "I voted" finger--to those who sought to intimidate and discourage people from voting. A nice slideshow of voting in Iraq images here.

This does not mean that all will be sweetness and light from here on out. Democracy is hard work anywhere in the world. It doesn't even mean that Iraq still might not fall into greater chaos and even civil war. But I still have to conclude that today was a good day, a better one than it might have been.

UDPATE: Some naysaying was apparently due to unacknowledged incompetence:
At 8 am, Jane Arraf reports a "nightmare" situation at school polling station in Baquba, Sunni area. No Iraqi election commission workers had shown up. But, at 9:15, viewers learn Arraf had just shown up at the wrong school, which was not a polling site. The real polling site was actually open. At 9:30, Arraf reports that she is "now at 'another' polling site. No mea culpa/recognition of previous mistake. Her new polling station is crowded and jubilant.

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