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Jan 30th 2005

Heroes

iraqi_voting.jpg

hero: A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life

Here are some experiences of Iraqis while voting.

Ali:

As I got out it was still early and I saw no one on the streets but as I got near to the voting center I started seeing people in groups heading the same way. Most of them were women. I saw a crippled man and my old neighbor and his older wife leaning on their walking sticks going to vote. An old woman cleaning her door step stopped me, “Say son, can I go and vote?” She asked after she saw many people going to vote. “Sure Khala (aunt)! Everyone can”. She thanked me and went inside apparently to change and get her IDs.

….

The voting center that was chosen in our district is a high school in the middle of the Neighborhood . This was the same place I went in 1996 to cast my vote in a poll asking if we wanted to have Saddam as a president for life or not. I had to go at that time. The threats for anyone who refused to take that poll were no less than the death penalty.

This time we went by choice and the threat was exactly the opposite. As I was walking with many people towards the center explosion hit and gun fire were heard but most were not that close. People didn’t seem to pay attention to that. Some of them even brought their little kids with them! It’s like the Eid but only a thousand times better.

As I left one of the gurads said to me as he handed me back my cellular phone,”God bless you and your beloved ones. We don’t know how to thank you. Please excuse any inconvinience on our part. We wish we didn’t have to search you or limit your freedom. You are heroes” I was struck with surprise and felt ashamed. This man was risking his life all these hours in what has become the utmost target for all terrorists in Iraq and yet he’s apologizing and calling us heroes. I thanked him back and told him that he and his comrads are the true heroes and that we can never be grateful enough for their services.

Mohammed & Omar:

We would love to share what we did this morning with the whole world, we can’t describe the feelings we’ve been through but we’ll try to share as much as we can with you.

We woke up this morning one hour before the alarm clock was supposed to ring. As a matter of fact, we barely slept at all last night out of excitement and anxiety.

We had all kinds of feelings in our minds while we were on our way to the ballot box except one feeling that never came to us, that was fear.

We could smell pride in the atmosphere this morning; everyone we saw was holding up his blue tipped finger with broad smiles on the faces while walking out of the center.

I couldn’t think of a scene more beautiful than that.

From the early hours of the morning, People filled the street to the voting center in my neighborhood; youths, elders, women and men. Women’s turn out was higher by the way. And by 11 am the boxes where I live were almost full!

Anyone watching that scene cannot but have tears of happiness, hope, pride and triumph.

The sounds of explosions and gunfire were clearly heard, some were far away but some were close enough to make the windows of the center shake but no one seemed to care about them as if the people weren’t hearing these sounds at all.

I saw an old woman that I thought would get startled by the loud sound of a close explosion but she didn’t seem to care, instead she was busy verifying her voting station’s location as she found out that her name wasn’t listed in this center.

How can I describe it!? Take my eyes and look through them my riends, you have supported the day of Iraq’s freedom and today, Iraqis have proven that they’re not going to disappoint their country or their friends.

I walked forward to my station, cast my vote and then headed to the box, where I wanted to stand as long as I could, then I moved to mark my finger with ink, I dipped it deep as if I was poking the eyes of all the world’s tyrants.

I put the paper in the box and with it, there were tears that I couldn’t hold; I was trembling with joy and I felt like I wanted to hug the box but the supervisor smiled at me and said “brother, would you please move ahead, the people are waiting for their turn”.

Yes brothers, proceed and fill the box!

These are stories that will be written on the brightest pages of history.

It was hard for us to leave the center but we were happy because we were sure that we will stand here in front of the box again and again and again.

Today, there’s no voice louder than that of freedom.

No more confusion about what the people want, they have said their word and they said it loud and the world has got to respct and support the people’s will.

God bless your brave steps sons of Iraq and God bless the defenders of freedom.

Aasha Al-Iraq….Aasha Al-Iraq….Aasha Al-Iraq.

And more to come…

3 Responses to “Heroes”

  1. It’s a sad state of affairs when the U.S. government has to hire actors to portray Iraqi voters. I hope Armin Mueller-Stahl finds better work soon.

  2. travis

    when you find proof of that, please let us all know! better yet, don’t worry about proof–just have michael moore make a movie about it. for now, we’ll just have to despair in the knowledge that the terrorists have been disenfranchised by democracy.

    hey, were the americans able to choose the candidate for whom their bribees voted, too? why doesn’t the US military cut out the middle man and just start ripping chads out of the ballots cast for candidates they don’t like? then they can claim that the double votes do not count. clearly, the iraqis were confused by an “unconstitutional” ballot. buying people off isn’t the surest way to steal the election, as US democrats have recently shown us.

    [on the other hand, paying people to vote would be a lot nicer than torturing or executing people who fail to vote in a one-candidate election. that’s what they got under saddam. which poison would you pick?]

  3. Nancy– merciful God, I don’t care. At least we’re trying. Bought votes or no, we’re trying. We could debate the motivations all day, but the fact is tyranny has been eliminated in some small way. The smallness of the way has little effect on those who no longer have to bow to Saddam Hussein, nor does it affect the joy I feel at thinking of Iraq’s new-found freedom that we in America all too often take for granted. Call me an idealist, I’ll call you a fatalist. And then I’ll stop wasting my time worrying what you think.