Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Salam Pax Writes From Iraq

In Guardian Unlimited, he writes:
I found out yesterday that Iraqis all over the world get to vote before us in Iraq. The state-run station has been broadcasting pictures from everywhere, from Britain to Iran, all doing the Iraqi democracy finger salute; purple index finger held up. I bet the majority of these bomb-scare-free, minimal-security voters do not know that their votes will only count towards the 45 "compensatory seats". The fight for the rest of the 230 seats happens on Iraqi ground.

The insurgency is doing its best to defy all the security measures and has blown up the electricity generator that feeds the main water pumps to Baghdad. Most of the city is without running water and the municipality says they hope to get everything running again by tomorrow afternoon. Let's hope that's the only thing insurgents are going to blow up for the next two days.

Whoever you talk to says they think voter turnout will be just as good as last time. I do believe that for many Iraqis the fact that this time we are voting for people who are staying in government for four years has sunk in. We've been through three trial runs and this time it's for real. Keep your fingers crossed for us, will you?

Some of his earlier comments in that piece, which I did not reprint, are instructive. I'll reprint one more, but you should just click through and read the whole thing. Salam Pax is one of my heroes.
Obviously, the question of how free and fair elections are in an environment of continued violence has never been answered. In a week we go to vote again hoping that we won't be blown to pieces. And I really believe that we Iraqis do deserve a bit of credit for having done that twice now. I don't think there is a better demonstration of the will to get this political process rolling and keeping it rolling than participating under the threat of violent death. I know I make fun of it all the time but this is not to be mistaken for belittling the courage of all those who participate.

If anybody reading this is confused about whether we at The MojoWire do not appreciate the courage of the Iraqi electorate who participate in the balloting, let them stand up and identify their positions now. Please be so kind as to hold still while we compute the best trajectory for the anvilgrams.

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