04 February 2009

The Pride of the Purple

Dr. Mohammed, a blogger and dentist from the once blood-soaked Adhamiyah district in Baghdad, gets some space at the NY Times to discuss the recent provincial elections in Iraq. He offers mixed reaction: pleased that there was no violence but bummed out by the low turnout. From NYT:

Many people I spoke to had no faith in the credibility of the elections, thinking that the winners were already decided. But they wanted to do their part, hoping they might be wrong. Others voted to satisfy their consciences — especially after some religious leaders announced that it would be a sin not to participate.

I opened the door and I felt a very soft breeze. The weather was great, neither hot nor cold, perfect for a walk in the car-free streets, a walk along the sacred road to democracy. Yet with every step my hopes were crushed by a sad reality: there were far fewer people heading to the polls than there had been in previous elections. Still, there were some scenes that filled my heart with joy: for example, an elderly woman, so stooped she could barely walk, pushing her husband to a polling station in his wheelchair.
The initial results indicate that the sectarian politicians did not fare well, including ISCI which has strong ties with Iran. So that's good. But the Anbar tribes are threatening to take up arms against the Iraqi Islamic Party (the religious Sunni-party) due to fraud allegations. So that's bad. We'll see where things go from here.