Thursday, January 27, 2005

The Ultimate Voters Guide

My company decided that it is better not to go to work till after the elections because of the increasing risk factor involved. Therefore, I’ll have a lot of spare time and amazingly enough, I’ve decided to write a post. so I sat down, started my computer, started the word processor and started gazing at the white page on screen.

As with what usually happens whenever I wanted to write a post lately (and which lead to me not posting), I started thinking why should I post? I know that you will say that it is useful to let others, specially the Americans, know what is really happening in Iraq, but is it really useful? How many people will read the post? And if all those people decide to do something for us, will they be able to? And if so, what is that thing that can help us? If I as an Iraqi don’t know, how will they?

Another reason preventing me from posting is that I’ve used my real name and that prevented me from writing some of the things I really wanted to. Maybe starting another blog with a false name is an idea worth considering.

One noble reason I keep convincing myself with is to let others see the true good side of Iraqis and Muslims that the ignorant Iraqis and Muslims are doing a very good job at destroying.

Enough with this discussion. I finally came to the conclusion that with so much spare time, posting is at least better than doing nothing or watching TV.

Attention: Complicated paragraph ahead. If you have a headache, just skip it.
Well the truth is that I do have much ‘scientific’ reading to do but I am being lazy and doing nothing or watching TV instead. So concluding that posting is better than being lazy and doing nothing or watching TV instead of reading which I should do, lead to me ending up posting instead of reading which in fact is more useful than posting! (I, on the other hand, have been reading ‘The ultimate hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy’ by Doglas Adams and this paragraph reflects my influence by his writing style. This novel is not what I was referring to by scientific reading – It will be useful though to write a post ‘The ultimate hitchhikers guide to Iraq’ since it is more dangerous and can be more adventurous than hitchhiking at the Galaxy).

So here is my long awaited post.

The ultimate question: “To vote or not to vote?” (I read this quote somewhere but I forgot where, I assume the source will not mind me using it)

Personally, I very much do want to vote, but up to this moment I have not decided whether I actually will. I think I’ll wait till the elections day, see how things will go and decide then. My family is afraid of voting and are asking me not to go fearing for my safety, but as I said, I have not decided yet.

Once I’ve read a very useful quote meaning that when you are forced to choose between two alternatives, choose the one that will not make you feel guilty or sorry if it turns out to be the wrong one.

Let’s apply this rule on ‘to vote or not to vote’.

If I choose ‘not to vote’, and the elections turned out to be successful, I might regret that I was not part of this process. This leads to the conclusion that I should vote.

If I choose to vote, and then something bad happens to me or to any of my family, I will surely regret my decision even if the elections succeed. This then means that I should not vote.
Oops, the rule does not apply on this case.

What complicates things is that the area I live in seems to be against the elections since one can hardly see any elections posters that I see in many other places in Baghdad.

But what if everyone thinks like me, Which means no one will vote and the elections will fail. Then I should vote to prevent that. But will my decision really have to do with that of any other? The answer is no (I forgot what this case is called in the probability theory – I think it was that my decision and that of any other is mutually exclusive). If this is the case, then I can ‘not vote’ since this will not affect the decision of others, and being one person whose decision ‘not to vote’ will not affect the whole process, then it’s safer not to vote. Problem solved. Unfortunately, I am still not convinced :(

Moreover, all the above discussion assumes that the results will not be tampered with, something that many doubt and say that the results are pre-set and have decided not to vote accordingly.

One thing you don’t know about me, is that I can keep on with such an argument for ever, but luckily for you, I will not.

Now a brief discussion about the nominated lists
There are 84 lists each list containing from 1 to more than 200 people, the total number of people in all the lists is about 7000 whose names was only published last Tuesday that is less than a week before the elections day and that is because the nominees were too afraid to declare their names.
Only the main 5-10 names in each list was declared from the beginning and it looks like that those top names are the only ones people are looking at.

I, Personally have a reasonably good knowledge of 7 of those 84 lists.

- The Independent Democrats List: Headed by Adnan Al Pachachi, who is an old politician and whose list contains an elite of educated Sunnis and Shias. So it can be categorized as a purely secular list. But unfortunately it is not a popular list for some reason that I don’t know of.
- The Iraqi Coalition (Al I’tilaf Al Iraqi) list: Contains the 4 major Islamic shiat parties in addition to some individuals and a minority of Sunni individuals. This list is informally backup up by Sistani and this qualifies it to take most of the Shias votes. Despite of the fact that those in the list deny this fact bu I think those in it are greatly influenced by Iran. I wish that I am wrong in this.
- The People’s Union list: This is basically a communist’s lists with a few other independent individuals. Surprisingly enough it looks like it is quite popular and according to many surveys it is expected to get between 17%-25% of the votes!
- The Kurdistan Coalition list: This is the main Kurdish list and is expected to get the majority of the votes from the Kurds.
- ‘The Iraqi List’: Headed by Ayad Allawi, a secular list that is not very popular because of Allawi’s failure to control things during the period he has been in power, but nevertheless surveys show that it might get about %10 of the votes.
- The Constitutional Monarchy list: Headed by Al Shareef Ali. A secular list that is not opposed by neither Sunnis, nor Shias, but also not popular.
- The ‘Iraqis’ list: Headed by Ghazi Al Yawir, the current president. Its name is very similar to that of Allawi’s. Also a secular list but again not very popular.

Surveys show these lists in the following order.
1- The Iraqi Coalition (Al I’tilaf Al Iraqi) list: about 35%-40%
2- The People’s Union list: about 17%-%25%
3- The Kurdistan Coalition list: about 10%-17%
4- Allawi’s list: About 10%
5- The other three lists did not get more than 3% of the votes each.

Unfortunately I support the three lists that took the least number of votes :(

I guess this long post may make up for me not posting for a LONG time.


568 comments:

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Anonymous said...

It must a very hard choice. You will do what is best for yourself and family and I respect that. I pray the vote in Iraq is successful and the animals causing the problems will give up. Fat chance, with the virgins waiting for them. Please that the American public is praying for Iraq and the American Government will do all in its power to help protect the voters.

There seems to have been some progress with the arrests and find that huge cash of weapons. It is hard to believe so many people have access to it. Perhaps one of the first thing the new government should do is to encourage the public to give up the ak47s.

My prayers are with you.

Cherryl

TxRockhound said...

Welcome back to the blogosphere Ahmed! I will read your post, and I bet that many others will as well. I can totally understand your reluctance to post controversial thoughts since you are using your real name. I also know that the decision on whether or not to vote must be tremendously difficult. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and all of your family and countrymen over the next few days hoping that you stay safe as you set your country on a new course towards liberty.

One thought that I will give you on the effect of your posts as you wonder about their value and the effects they may have on who reads them: On a daily basis here in the US, we hear comments from naysayers like "we are sending our soldiers over there to die, and for what? Everybody there hates us." Ahmed, our mainstream media won't report it when our soldiers do something good. They also won't report when Iraqis show their appreciation. They won't report on soldiers playing games with children and handing out toys. They won't report when Iraqis bring out treats to our soldiers during Eid or allow them to pluck fresh fruit from their gardens as I have read on other blogs. They won't report the stories that you and others like you tell through these blogs. The blogs from Iraq provide a lifeline through which all of the families whose loved ones are fighting over there can see what is really going on and can learn how people in Iraq really think and feel. We don't want to hear the daily body count on the news, we want to know if our boys helped somebody. We don't want to hear which towns had attacks on our soldiers, we want to know if the Iraqis are closer to winning their freedom from the terrorists. Since our news won't report these things, we come here searching for it. Even if only one family member who has a son or daughter or father or mother in Iraq reads your words and is somehow reassured that their loved one's life is risked in a good cause, then your post has helped somebody's life. By helping us see Iraqis as human beings with hopes and dreams of their own, people like you let us see that the sacrifices of our loved ones are worth it, despite what we are bombarded with in our media.

So from me to you Ahmed, thank you. Thank you for putting down in writing even your most random thoughts, because in reading about your life and connecting with you human to human, you help us see what is really important in this whole conflict.

TxRockhound

Anonymous said...

Oh, and you've forgot to mention this:
من اجل عراق خال من البطالة
و نظيف من الزبالة
انتخبوا قائمة البرتقالة

I guess you now know who I am ;)

praktike said...

Thanks, Ahmed. This is a very informative post. I have seen some very different numbers on the likely winners, so it is good to get another perspective.

Obviously, I don't feel comfortable advising you on whether or not you should risk your life to vote or not. Your plan to play it by ear seems prudent. It's too bad that there was no provision for absentee voting or voting by mail! If you do decide to vote, I wish you the best of luck for your family and your country.

Anonymous said...

I am glad your time off has given you the opportunity to blog again - I just hope the electricity, water and phones hold out!

I wont be voting. My own concern is that the elections are being rushed and a devisive or unfair election will result in a government that will not have any authority/ability to unite Iraqis. And that could really lead to civil war or the complete colapse of the government.

Anyway what clinched my decision on this was an article in the Financial Times by Saad Jawad (professor of politics in Baghdad University). Unfortunately they only make this article available to subscribers so here is the significant bit...

-----
But the more real and important issue will be the conduct of the new government. Will it be truly independent? If the US pulls out of the big cities, will the new government forces be ready to defend themselves, the government and the people? Will it have the liberty to manage and spend the oil revenues? These are the most pressing questions that face the administration that will emerge from these flawed elections.

The US, meanwhile, will face two agonising alternatives, either to get involved directly in the post-election scenario, at very high risk, or to leave the country to fall under the control of a hostile opposition.
---

Anyway keep safe whatever you do - Adil

Sandi said...

You are forgetting one thing. The 275 parlimentary seats will be filled according to the percentage of votes.

So, if you (and others) don't vote for your choice simply because they are not popular, or vote for a more popular slate (we call it jumping on the band wagon), your candidates will have even fewer seats.

For example 15 percent of the seats is better than 5 percent.

Just a thought.

ÐÇRøçk§ said...

I am one of those Americans, (I'm in Washing DC), that is reading your Blog and gaining a look inside of Iraq from it. I am very thankful for all those in Iraq that have made the effort to bring information to us here in the US. I have no regret in saying that I truly hope you go out and vote. While I understand this is a risky thing for you to do, it is also a very important one, as every vote is another nail in the coffin of those out to destroy the Democratic process in Iraq. I have supported our efforts there from the start, and feel it is vital that the Democratic process is successful in Iraq, not just from an American viewpoint, but far more importantly, for all the people of Iraq. I will pray that you, your family, and all those you care about, are safe throughout this election process, and the days to come, and that you, and those around you that are able to vote, do so without any tragedy or hardships coming into your lives. I really, really, hope you vote, and do so SAFELY! The voting started here this morning, and has been covered on the local and National news. This truly is one of the most exciting events in my lifetime, and could be a crossroads for the future of the Middle East. I have voted in every election since I turned 18. I feel I owe it to all those that have died, so that I may be free. I will pray for the safety of you, and all the others voting around Iraq. May your elections be overwhelmingly successful, and may Monday morning find you happy and safe!

Anonymous said...

What will you tell your grandchildren you did on that one most critical day? And will you tell them why?

Mike O said...

Here are some numbers to throw in the mix:
The police are saying the terrorists might have as many as 150 bombs ready to go. However, there are several thousand polling places, are they not? Figuring security forces will stop most of those and the number may be inflated, I think your odds at any given polling place will be good.

And the question will be brought up in the future; Granddad, what did you do in the first election?

Myself, I happen to be listening to an audio book on John Adams, one of the founding fathers of the U.S. He undertook a voyage across the North Atantic in the dead of winter, with the very real threat of being captured by the British or killed in the terrible storms of the Nortth Atantic. Just to be an ambassador to France and help his country. His chances of getting killed was far greater than yours. It is that kind of bravery, by individuals and by a people in general, that makes history. It is your choice.

David Lantos said...

Hi,
That was a really interesting post. I supported the American liberation of Iraq (easy for me from my comfy safe place in Canada). I still think it was the right thing to do. I can really feel your struggle from what you write. If I was in your position, I don't know if I'd have the courage to vote. I'd love to think I would. Sounds to me like you believe it's the RIGHT thing to do, so that's not the issue. I pray that conditions are right on Sunday for you to feel safe enough and courageous enough to go and vote. All the best, and stay safe and free,
David

Anonymous said...

What you say matters to the whole world. I must admit that under the same circumstances I probably would not vote. Why vote and be dead?

As an American, I must tell you that all is not well in America. We have a president who says "you will be free" He did not bother to ask you if you wanted freedom or what form of freedom you want. He assumed that you want our style of freedom. And he lied to the American People about why he was going to liberate you. Your freedom is a by product of his ego.

I personally hold George W. Bush responsible for every single life that has been lost in this Iraqi War. He has killed innocent as well as more deserving "bad people" I do not believe that George's God will be very pleased with what he has done to this world.

I did vote, I didn't vote for Bush, I did not get what I thought was best for the world this time, but make no mistake about it, I will continue to vote and to tell people why I believe that war is wrong.

I hear of the things some of the American service people are doing in Iraq and it just makes me sick to my stomach. My son was in Iraq and when the Abu Greib (misspelled I am sure) incident happened, I emailed my son and said if you ever behave like those American's behaved I will disown you. I told him that he is a guest (for lack of better word) of the Iraqi's and he better be on his best behavior and act like a good guest. My son was not in a position of shooting people but as he said he was in a facilitating position. My son is home now and I can sleep at night and I can eat without being sick. I do not know how your wonderful country has withstood all that it has had to go through. My heart goes out to you and your wonderful family.

If you vote remember you may get your wish or you may not. But the important thing is you will have another chance to correct things if the wrong person gets into office.

I believe the best part of being free is that I can say what I feel is true without worry of being imprisoned or killed.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

My father grew up under Japanese occupation in the Filipines during World War II. Were it not for General MacArthur and the American troops, my father would have never come to the United States, met my mother, and I would not have been born.

My father came to the USA in the 1950's, when Federal Bureau of Investigation agents spied on all foreigners; when public bathrooms had separate doors labeled "Whites" and "Colored"; when "colored" people (African-American) did not have the right to vote. He marched with Martin Luther King on Washington during the historic peaceful march that resulted in the right to vote for African-Americans (and non-whites). He watched neighborhoods near his apartment (14th Street) burn to the ground in the riots that followed Martin Luther King's assassination. Soldiers patrolled the streets of Washington D.C. to restore order.

In his lifetime he has lived through five wars and eleven U.S. presidents. And for as long as he has been a citizen of the U.S., he has voted in every election.

America came to the Filipines and stayed for a long time after defeating the Japanese. But America's presence brought stability to a country that was not strong enough to stand on its own. And the American people gave him the right to vote, even as a foreign-born citizen. For these things, my father and my family will always be grateful.

And I, as his son, wish never to forget the history of where I came from, and the power and responsibility that comes with the freedom to VOTE.

Anonymous said...

DONT PANIC!

I like your logic. I have another way of looking at it though. I find (as Douglas Adams did) that the Universe has a way of pricing everything like a thrifty shop owner (a rich thrifty shop owner lets say).

Which of your two options is more costly? More difficult?

That is the one then that the Universe has put a higher price on and sees as more valuable to you. The Universe has done this for reasons we can not understand without a Babelfish stuck in our ear.

Anonymous said...

I'm a new reader to your blog and I like it already. I trust that you will make the correct decicion when it comes to voting, whatever that decision will be. You certainly bear much greater personal risk than voters in stable democracies and nobody can judge you for your actions. For that reason alone, your decision carries great weight. If you choose to not vote, it will be for valid reasons. If you do choose to vote, it will also be for valid reasons and it will be much more significant to you than to Americans who face no personal threat when voting.

You know what's best. I support any decision you make on voting.

Anonymous said...

If you do vote, don't forget to bring a towel. Douglas Adams would be proud.

Aunt Najma said...

Uncle,

It's true that you really want to vote, and voting is an obligation for all of us.. But, we can hardly live through this life in Iraq with our families, what will we do without them? I mean, if you do care about your child's future (As I'm sure you do), you'll want her to have a dad in one piece when she grows up and really needs one!!

I saw the Iraqis voting on TV today, and I wanted to be with them and vote.. But as long as I'm here, as long as I'm needed, I won't throw myself in the way of danger hoping that it won't come.

Anonymous said...

In case this helps, I would offer this. First, I gather that there will be another opportunity to vote, next December. Second, I hear that it is not just a matter of surviving one trip out to the polling station; it is reported here that the lives of Iraqis and their families who vote may be in great danger later, if the gunmen find out who voted. Third, in parts of Iraq - as in Basrah - Iraqis will probably be able to vote in safety; they, your Iraqi brothers and sisters (and the exiles), may have to accept that they are voting too on behalf of people in more dangerous areas, this time. No one, no one, can be expected to sacrifice himself and perhaps his whole family just for this election. This is just one step towards the Iraq if the future, whatever that turns out to be.
Rachel, a Brit in London

submandave said...

Rachael: That is probably (in my opinion at least) one of the more lucid and logical postings you have ever made. 8^D In fact, I've read more than one report that a lot of Shi'ia in the South are very consciously voting with the understanding that noone benefits from a lop-sided election result that is non-representative of the Iraqi population.

I do, however, have to echo the remarks of another commenter who pointed out that the Iraqi election is one of proportional representation and not "winner-take-all" like the American Presidential election. As such, a vote for a less popular list, far from being a wasted vote, may actually make the difference in that list providing another representative to the elected body.

I personally wish that every single Iraqi would vote, but that choice, my friend, will ultimately be yours and your fellow countrymen. I can understand your reservations and the feelings of Najima, however, and will not be so arrogant as to advise you. Absent this, I offer my sincere wishes and prayers for an election day safer than any dared dream of and reflecting the wishes of a free Iraqi people.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ahmed: Your vote is more powerful than any bomb or bullet.
Your posts are important to me and others in the U.S. who read them. I don't critize the media for being too right or left as I feel confident that I can filter and find the facts. Your blog, and others of similar introspection and honesty provide me with an important insight into the situation in Iraq and of some of its citizens.
Regardless of whether the U.S. should have invaded or not, NOW is the time or as Lenis once said about the revolution, 'The bus passes by only once' meaning that this is the time to VOTE.
Should you chose to vote, it will show the love of your country and your bravery in risking your life will influence many more people than you think. Unless a significant number of Iraquis risk their lives and push their country forward, Iraq will remain a backwater of conflict and pain. Luck and strength be with you.
Enshallah

Jan said...

hi, shalom, I came to your blog by a link of Aunt Najma, http://astarfrommosul.blogspot.com/, and I hope you will write about the aftermath of the elections. Hopefully we read more of your writing, I'll link you on my blog.

According to Hnk from Mosul life is great in Baghdad.

Groeten,

Jan

Always Question said...

Ahmed, democracy is an unwieldy beast but basically it boils down to each of us doing what we believe is right. With people of conscience all doing what they believe is right you won't go far wrong. I know that's easy for me to say over here, but you face all of the risk.
One thing about voting... when someone over here starts to talk politics with me I always ask if they voted. If they didn't then I just tell them to live with it because they blew their chance to make a difference.
Best wishes for a long life in good health and great happiness.

Mike O said...

I wouldn't pay too much attention to Rachel; if it had been up to her- from reading all her other posts- you'd still be dealing with Sadaam and sons. In reference to the book you're reading, the only way to 42 is through the vote :) Be nice to white mice.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to say one thing and then make a request of you. I want to say that it is more important that you vote, than it is for any one candidate to win. Pick the group that reflects you the best. Pick a group that may not make so many votes, because diversity will force the government to compromise.

My request of you is YES< please write ‘The ultimate hitchhikers guide to Iraq’. Don't forget your towel and watch out for new highways! I'll bet you wish you were Zaphod. cheers!

Anonymous said...

I can't figure out how to sign in to this thing. Just call me Charley.

To vote or not to vote: that is the question.

I think you've borrowed from the Playwright Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Prince Hamlet has promised his father’s ghost that he will avenge his murder by killing his uncle (who has become King by marrying his mother) and Hamlet becomes so paralyzed by this moral responsibility that he's driven to contemplate suicide. He says:

“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil….”

Your niece used to begin her blog with her answer to the question. “I choose to be”, she said.

Some questions are just too hard. The more we think about them the more elusive is the answer. Freedom to vote is also freedom not to vote as long as it's your own choice. Good luck. You seem like a nice fellow.

Margo D said...

Just stumbled onto your blog; as I sit here an watch the news from my relatively safe location in Maryland, USA, I'm compelled to say a prayer for all of you. This is so very huge for you, and I completely understand how torn you must be. I know that you will make the right choice for yourself and your family.
Godspeed.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am praying for you hoping for the best. I want to let you know that there are many Americans who do care even though we can't do more than pray. I was not born in America so I can appriciate it more than some who are born here. I have looked at what the Founding Fathers did and the risk they took to get liberty for America. Most of them were killed and lost all their families and posessions. Democracy is not perfect and it is not easy but it takes courage and determination to make it work. Having said all that I would not tell you to go vote if you know it will mean death for you or your family. I want to see Iraq become free and not have those stupid terroist making life difficult for your country.
Take care!

Ann said...

Thank you for the post.

The answer is "42" - in appropriate units.

Elrod said...

This is a difficult decision indeed. One other risk, thanks to the stupidity of the election commission, is that the indelible ink on the hands of voters will stay for a few days. So if some terrorist really wants to murder voters he doesn't have to do it on Election Day. He can just wait until the security cordon clears and then "inspect" fingers at random and murder at will. Since you are basing your decision to vote on personal security then this is something to consider. It's risky. However, if you decide to risk it and things go well and the country transforms smoothly into democracy then you can proudly say that you played an integral role in it.

WC said...

Howdy!

Go ahead and vote for who you want. If your list gets 0.5% of the vote, you get a voice in the assembly. That's a Great setup. Wish we had something like here in the USA.

Keep your head low. Run like the wind if the idiots start their bombing and shooting and killing. Support your police. They've been called the "thin blue line". They are the fragile protection we have between chaos and civilisation.

Happy Trails!

Anonymous said...

Hi Ahmed,
I came across your blog tonight after having followed Riverbend's blog for months now, then recently Baghdad girl, then a link to A star from Mosul, and then to you. Please continue to post. I know it may seem useless to you but it means so much to me, a 43 year old woman from New york. I was against this war from the start but all I wish for is the Iraqi people to have Peace and Freedom and for our soldiers to come home. I disagree with our current administration but I wish the best for everyone involved. I totally understand your dilemma about voting but would never suggest that I could really even begin to put myself in your shoes. Myself being a mom, I would probably go with the safety issue - right or wrong! I personally always vote in our national and local elections but my life is never at stake. And I feel as though my last two presidential votes didn't really count but I will still vote. I pray for all of you and your family. I am so thankful that all of you bloggers post. I read everything on the war and love to read all of the posts from the Iraqi people. Many people in our country are not aware of much at all about the Iraqi people. People innocently say to me "They write in English?" And I respond with something like "If you only knew, sometimes their English is better than many Americans." It is not to say the American people are ignorant as a whole, but definitely uninformed at the very least. It is just that everyone is so involved in their everyday lives, that many times people don't see beyond their little world, myself included. But, I definitely try! So please dear friend continue on and
understand that you do make a difference and that there are many people out there who truly care about you, even though we may never, ever meet. I trust you will make the best decision for yourself and your family and once you do, don't ever look back and feel as though you made a mistake. You will have made the best decision you could of at the time for the circumstances and that is all you can do. So no regrets! My thoughts are with you especially in the coming days.

Peace and Happiness, Margie

Anonymous said...

The important thing is that you want to vote.
If you feel it is too dangerous in your neighborhood
then stay home.

This is just the first step in forming your new government,
and it will provide an oppourtunity for the Shia majority
to prove that it wants to share authority and the writing
of the constitution with the Sunni.

Suppose as expected the Shia lists win big ... they know
that the majority in the Sunni areas would vote if things were peaceful.

So it becomes their responsbility as an elected body to
find a way to include the Sunni ... So its very possible
that many Sunni candidates will be in your new national assembly
anyway.

In any case you and your family will have the oppourtunity
to vote on the new constitution I believe in October.

And then you can vote directly for your president next January
It will take several elections for the democratic process to mature
in Iraq ... these elections are only the first step.

Each succesive government will more and more acurately
represent the voice of the people over time.

I would like to add one more comment ....
When the United States invaded Iraq there was worldwide
protest and outrage especially in the Arab world
this is understandable to some degree ...

But what I find troubling is that when Zarquawi states
that he will kill the families of those who vote
and those who run for office ... the world is silent !!
where is the outrage in the Muslim world when
Zarquawi takes credit for a car bombing ouside
a Shiite Mosque??? ... Where are the French protesters ???
Why do not the Egyptian students and others express outrage
at Zarquawi!!

Mike O said...

Margie's post was one of the more rational 'opposition' comments I'veseen for awhile, but I must comment on the following.

"Myself being a mom, I would probably go with the safety issue - right or wrong!"

What is safety? Safety for this week? Safety for this year? Or safety for the next generation? Don't know about that Mom, but this Dad would be more than willing to take chances that is on the order of 1 in 50,000 to ensure the long-term safety and freedom of my son. That's what puts brave people on the line in Iraq today, back 230 years ago in the US, and even beyond that.

Ahmed said...

Dear Mr. Anonymous
I definately know who said "To be or not to be", specially that I am after all Najma's uncle ;-)
I actually was referring to the one who literally said "To vote or not to vote?".
Just wanted to make things clear. Thank you for your comment.

Anonymous said...

Ahmed, please just follow your own instincts and listen to your own wisdom. And ignore Michael Openshaw.

Marking, with ink, the fingers of people who have voted just has to be - in this context - one of the stupidest ideas of all time. It is like doing the gunmen's work for them, of selecting their victims.

If an Iraqi decides for him/herself that casting a vote is worth risking death for (now or sometime in the near future), that is his right; however, what s/he is *not* entitled to do is by this to put at risk his/her entire extended family. If this election collapses in chaos, it will not be the fault of the very brave Iraqi people who have already suffered too much.

As I have made clear elsewhere, I happen to believe that the US policy-makers and occupiers do not care a hoot how many Iraqis die, whether because they did not hear an order to stop or because they have indelible ink on their finger. For the fulfilment of their medium- and long-term plans, the Americans do not actually need Iraqis so and will not leave Iraq until (a) their embassy is built (to be the largest in the world), (b) their four military bases are established, and (c) the Iraqi civil service is fully up and running, headed up by American staff.
Rachel, a Brit in London

Anonymous said...

Well looks like your comments have been invaded by the rabid christian right,the cia and fbi.
Please realize as a star from Mosul did,that the media(including your blog is part of this war).
The warmongers and their flunkies have mobilized on a massive scale for this invasion of your homeland,as never before.
Your blogs are very liberating as are the stars,but the comments are very sad.
I appeal to you to turn the comment section off.

Its very easy to turn off the mainstream war lies,and find alternative information,that are not from the media war machine.
heres a couple of links to people inside iraq.
http://dahrjamailiraq.com/weblog/
http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/
http://astarfrommosul.blogspot.com/

Even most Iraqi's outside of Iraq dont believe in this occupation election with only 10% regerstering to vote .....
http://raedinthemiddle.blogspot.com/

Thats even much less than the 40 or 50% of americans vote for their own sham elections.

david
An election in this

Steve from Florida said...

I can understand your hesitation to vote. Not being there my inclination would be to say I would vote; but like I said, I'm here and your there. If you still don't know by voting day maybe take a walk by the polls and see if your feet take inside or keep going.

And just another small point, your actions may affect others. If you vote others may be encouraged by your actions and vote also. Maybe not. But it is a possibility.

SquareSlant said...

One vote = one voice. Let your's be heard!

May Allah keep you safe!

Anonymous said...

Ahmed, one of the international news agencies reported this half an hour ago:

Iraqi President: Most People Won't Vote
Saturday January 29, 2005 1:46 PM
AP Photo DKB103

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraq's president predicted Saturday that most of his country's people will not go to the polls for a historic election Sunday, mostly because of security fears.

``We hope everyone will participate,'' President Ghazi al-Yawer said at a news conference the day before the vote. ``But the majority prefer not to participate for fear of going out to polling stations.''

He said a minority of people would not vote because they were boycotting the vote for political reasons. But he predicted most of those who stay away would do so because of their fears of attacks.

Overall, al-Yawer predicted that a majority of the country's eligible voters would not show up at the polls.
Rachel, a Brit in London

Marwan said...

Hello Ahmed,

Will you find the time to read my comments after you got so many answers?

Well "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" might help to get the right attitude about the situation in Iraq. Always something unpredicted happens and there are so many interconnections :)

Concerning your Vote or not to Vote question, first I'm sure Shakespeare would not have minded you quoting him :) and second I think you have the right attitude towards this problem, i.e. just see how things look on the election day (does this has to do anything with an engineers way of thinking?).

Ahmed, stay safe and good luck, our minds and harts are with you.

Marwan

Brenda said...

Ahmed,

I had to read what you wrote really quickly as I have to get to work soon, so I'll probably read your post again later. I just wanted to say that I 'm wishing the best for you and your country and praying that things go better than anyone could have hoped for.

Peace and a wonderful weekend yo you.

Brenda in Arizona

majortom said...

i just want to say tnat i hope elections run well without blood ( i think this is a miracle according the news i´m hearing today) and iraqis get a real democracy and finish this nightmare off.
greetings from spain

Theresa said...

Thank you for comming back to your blog, I have patiently been waiting for you. I agree totally with TxRockhound,
"The blogs from Iraq provide a lifeline through which all of the families whose loved ones are fighting over there can see what is really going on and can learn how people in Iraq really think and feel." I pray for all in your country Americans and Iragis.

Mike O said...

Rachel has *always* opposed all of this- usually in the most strident terms. Check any number of the other Iraqi blogs for her previous posts to see her true views.
The ink to be used in Iraq is invisible, requiring a special light to be illuminated. Not something traceable on the street. Do *not* let someone who would have left Sadaam in place tell you what you must do, or even myself; a bunch of brave people *died* to give you this chance for long-term safety.

Ask yourself this; how much safer will you be if the voting fails? Will that not encourage more terrorism?

Mike O said...

Oh, BTW: I do care mainly about the Iraqis in this; the people about to be elected will likely not be as amenable to American interests as the current interim group. But they will be more representative of Iraqis themselves.

A successful election is the quckest way for the Coalition troops to start moving out and turning things over to Iraqis; of course, Rachel doesn't seem to consider that aspect.

My honest hope is that 5 years from now, the Americans the Iraqis will be fussing about locally will be tourists, not soldiers :)

Anonymous said...

Ahmed,

What is most important is your personal commitment to a society that protects the rights of minorities as well as the majority.

I hope for you and all of the people of Iraq a peaceful and prosperous future.

Anonymous said...

If Voting changed anything it would be illegal!

stephie said...

Ahmed, I too wait patiently for you to post. I always keep up with Najma.

I don't know if you'll see me here at the bottom (right now anyway) of the comments but I had to tell you thank you for your thoughts. Someone mentioned that on election day you might just take a walk and see how things look. If it looks safe, please vote. If it doesn't look safe to step outside your door then do what you feel is best.

America (and many other countries as well) wasn't built by one single election or even by one single event. It has taken a lot of time and a lot of lives and we still aren't perfect. No country is. It's a continuous learning process.

Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts. Please let us know how the election day goes. Please stay safe.

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Anonymous said...

Hrmm. Reading all these comments make me wonder. Why are we trying to Convince an Iraqi to vote? If he doesn't yearn for it, desire it, is not willing to sacrifice for it, to take whatever mechanism exists and try to make it work... then is he/she even ready for it?

It's going to get a lot tougher than this. After this vote, there will be many others. There will be more threats, people in power will be or become corrupt, a constant cycle of partisianship will rage for at least the next 15 years before an equilibrum is found. Go back to any deomocracy early days and read newspaper accounts, diaries, and other sources of information about the time. It's never easy. It's never perfect. And no one would call it peacefull.

I'm starting to believe in this so called 'post totalitarism stress disorder'. Maybe the people of Iraq are not ready. Not because they are not noble, or humanist, or good natured, but purely because the past 20 years have broken them. They did not revolt, and are not riding on a wave of patriotism. They had it given to them, by a country that most despised. There was no way for them to save face, and they are not a people who lose face effortlessly.

But I guess, the question then is, what are they ready for? Another dictator? It would certainly make people like Najima not have to worry about her Uncle risking his life to vote. A dictator may be harsh to a subset of the population but through the harshness bring security, or appeasment. While it seems weak, and makes me sick to my stomach, there's no reason to think it's not the correct solution for Iraq. They simply may not be ready.

The young people in Iran are yearning for it. Are the young people in Iraq yearning for it? I'm not sure.

-Unsure

strykeraunt said...

Your dilema is a tough one to sort out. I will not even begin to imply that I understand or would have the courage "to vote or not to vote." Whatever you decide I just want you to know that you have many here in the USA (and around the world) who are following closely and praying for the people of Iraq. My guess is that the people of Iraq are going to shock the world with their show of courage and numbers in the polls.

Mike O said...

Ahh, the Guardian; that source of unbiased reporting... NOT!

Considering that the Shia and Kurds are expected to turn out 70+% and they represent 80% of the population...well, do the math.

I believe the President was likely taken out of context (the Guardian standard). He was likely talking about Bagdhad itself.

BLASTER said...

An other Canadian reader. thank you for your note.
Being informed here in Vancouver B.C. is not easy.
I and my wife went for Middle East cooking yesterday.
Abdul, the owner, a Canadian could not give the details
of who is who, but had thoughts on the grand scheme of
things. Very difficult to follow, like the elections.
First; Peace be with you and your family.
second; I see the distruction of young children and tell
people.
Third; WE pray for all people of the Land Iraq.
Blessings upon you and your family
rtg

Anonymous said...

It is amazing to me to read your account complete with references to a book my 18 year old son quotes...and some would say your people and culture cannot understand democracy. My wish and prayer is for your best no matter what your decision is. May you make your decision with courage and conviction.
I am hopeful that those who doubt the success of the election in Iraq are as accurate as those who doubted an election happening in Afghanistan. (Oh yes, there was supposed to be a low voter turnout there because of violence and the fear of violence also, funny how few times we hear that mentioned on the TV. They also marked fingers to show who voted- something that maybe the US will learn from).
I am afraid too many people in the West wish for "peace" instead of realizing that the wicked and cruel need to be defeated. Had Europe and the US been willing to oppose Hitler in 1939 instead of hoping he would "be a nice Fuerher"!! Had more countries been unwilling to allow Saddam and his sons to continue to terrorize his people instead of taking bribes! May you find the strength and grace to be wise and brave and strong!!

Mike M in Philadelphia

Anonymous said...

It is amazing to me to read your account complete with references to a book my 18 year old son quotes...and some would say your people and culture cannot understand democracy. My wish and prayer is for your best no matter what your decision is. May you make your decision with courage and conviction.
I am hopeful that those who doubt the success of the election in Iraq are as accurate as those who doubted an election happening in Afghanistan. (Oh yes, there was supposed to be a low voter turnout there because of violence and the fear of violence also, funny how few times we hear that mentioned on the TV. They also marked fingers to show who voted- something that maybe the US will learn from).
I am afraid too many people in the West wish for "peace" instead of realizing that the wicked and cruel need to be defeated. Had Europe and the US been willing to oppose Hitler in 1939 instead of hoping he would "be a nice Fuerher"!! Had more countries been unwilling to allow Saddam and his sons to continue to terrorize his people instead of taking bribes! May you find the strength and grace to be wise and brave and strong!!

Mike M in Philadelphia

Anonymous said...

Best of luck in making your decision. This article does an excellent job of pointing out the plsses and minuses. As an American who lost a friend killed inn Iraq it is my hope that one day the choice will not be so difficult. You have my greatest respect in whatever your choice may be. Take care.

Some Soldier's Mom said...

Ahmed, Here's what I tell people when they have a major dilemma: Close your eyes and what does your gut (instinct) tell you?

As for me, my son is in Iraq risking his life so that you may vote. If my 19 year old son believes in your right to vote, and is willing to risk his life (he's not just taking orders -- he truly believes you are entitled to determine your own destiny) then how can you not believe and not vote?

you not only have the FREEDOM to vote, you have the responsibility to do so.

peace be on you

Detlef said...

Here is another Shakespeare quote: "Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air."
Soldier's Mom, with all respect to you and your son: Who knows the weird sisters/people/transnational companies pulling the strings behind the scene? Who knows the name of the game? If it was for the benefit of mankind - there would have been other places to fight, other causes than Saddam´s Irak. Freedom may be precious, but a great part of the population of this globe is sooner or later dying because of diseases caused by lack of clean drinking-water. To take care of that would be far easier and have a far greater impact on humanity.

On Irak "being not ready ..": Shakespeare would not be possible without the Renaissance, the rediscovery of the antique-world and a tradition, which fundamental christians had managed to destroy during the middle-ages in the west. But for the wisdom of the muslim world and it´s enlightened tolerance, there would be no Renaissance, no Shakespeare, no western civilisation, no George Washington as we know him. The American culture is a young offspring of the muslim world - not the other way round.

Jim said...

As youy can see by the replies so far, people are reading your blogs! You may have question sometimes it's usefulness, but I don;t feel you should. A person's voice, to speak his or her truths, is their liberation and there freedom. The priveledge to vote is one of the geartest ablities one has to express their voice and thus achieve their freedom. The power of deciding you and your people's fate is awesome. I live in the state of Ohio in the United States. It is close to 7:30 am here on Sunday, Jan 30th. I have been up most of the night watching MSNBC coverage of your elections and I can not tell you how elatyed it makes me feel to see the brave men and women going out to vite...to let their voices be heard. I hope you found the courge with in you to let your voice be heard today. I can't pretend to know how it feels to live in a country in which the decision to vote may very well be a decision of life or death. But, seeing what you and your country are facing reaffirms in me my own sense of worth and patriotism. I will continue to pray for you and all your people...God Bless!

Suzanne said...

I am very glad to have seen your post. I hope the best for you.

Anonymous said...

HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE!
Great book. are you enjoying it?
Strange question - where did you get it??

Joel Gottlieb said...

Truly extraordinary to witness and read the thoughts of Iraqis wrestling with the dangers and issues of voting. I think Iraqis are earning a place in every textbook about democracy. You have much to teach.

retired professor of political science

Joel Gottlieb said...

Truly extraordinary to witness and read the thoughts of Iraqis wrestling with the dangers and issues of voting. I think Iraqis are earning a place in every textbook about democracy. You have much to teach.

retired professor of political science

Ahmed said...

Thank you all for your lovely words and encouragement. It looks like they worked after all.

For those wondering, I asked a friend to send me the Hitchhikers guide from London. It is still difficult to find such books in Iraq, despite the democracy ;-)

Brian H said...

It's now Feb. 10; I just came across this blog, and decided to read the comments on both the latest posts. I'm struck -- delighted and amused -- at how ugly-stupid the comments by both Ratbitch and Daffyid now look. The stained fingers are badges of pride and courage. Al Yawer was wrong, too.

No guts, no glory. And here's some science to ponder:

Positive Emotions Cut Bias.

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