Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Vote (and/)or Die?

Not a lot to say about the Iraqi election here at Dissent Channel. We would love to hope for the best, but there is no indication that "the best" is anything this madministration can muster. Ushering in a new age in Iraq would be a great thing, of course, provided Iraqis could do the ushering and nurturing. No one can disregard the mixture of pride and defiance and joy and relief that must have gone into casting ballots for one's candidate of choice yesterday, and I know that it took much courage to vote amidst the deadliest day in Iraq yet. I'm not inured to positive expressions of civic pride and political freedoms. I'd like more of both here, to be sure. I'm just not ready to call this a "win," and it's not because I hate Murka, freedom, or the Iraqi People. It's because I am afraid this year's purple ink-stained finger is last year's Saddam statue toppling.

Sami Ramadani, an Iraqi now living and teaching in London, has more to say about this uncritical celebration of democracy come to the Iraqis, noting that similar propaganda was published (in the NY Times, of course) about the South Vietnamese presidential elections during the height of the Vietnam War. That 70% turnout number thrown around yesterday will come back to haunt us, so obviously planted, wished for, unreal it was.