Sunday, January 30, 2005


It's 4pm on a Sunday afternoon, here in Brisbane, which means that in Iraq, which is some seven hours away, the voting has been taking place for two hours now.

Every revolution has its symbol or gesture - the democratic revolution in Iraq, and hopefully throughout the broader Middle East, will have its own, too: a finger stained with ink.

As Michael Ignatieff writes, "just as depressing as the violence in Iraq is the indifference to it abroad. Americans and Europeans who have never lifted a finger to defend their own right to vote seem not to care that Iraqis are dying for the right to choose their own leaders...
"Liberals can't bring themselves to support freedom in Iraq lest they seem to collude with neo-conservative bombast. Anti-war ideologues can't support the Iraqis because that would require admitting that positive outcomes can result from bad policies. And then there are the ideological fools in the Arab world, and even a few in the West, who think the 'insurgents' are fighting a just war against US imperialism. This makes you wonder when the left forgot the proper name for people who bomb polling stations, kill election workers and assassinate candidates - fascists."
Yet in the end, it's all America's fault: "The Bush administration has managed the nearly impossible: to turn democracy into a disreputable slogan."

Actually, to my mind, this says more about the priorities of the enlightened elites for whom hatred of the current Administration and/or the United States any time trumps the commitment to one of the most basic and important political values. No matter, these people will be just the sad footnotes of history.

The real heroes are the Coalition soldiers who made it all possible. The other heroes, of course, are the people of Iraq who are now voting with full knowledge that their journey to their local polling station may be their last. I don't know what turnout there will be throughout Iraq - but I can guess what a turn out would be like in America or Australia or in any other Western democracy if the polls were targeted by terrorists. So, our hats off to Iraqi people.

Update: The Adventures of Chester is one of the blogs live-blogging the election. So is Roger Simon. And it's the middle of the night in the US - these guys put me to shame. Don't forget, too, about the on-the-ground coverage from the Friends of Democracy.

Mohammed at Iraq the Model: "On Sunday, the sun will rise on the land of Mesopotamia. I can't wait, the dream is becoming true and I will stand in front of the box to put my heart in it." Ali at Free Iraqi is also promising to post updates.


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