Sunday, January 30, 2005
The people have won.
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.
The first thing we saw this morning on our way to the voting center was a convoy of the Iraqi army vehicles patrolling the street, the soldiers were cheering the people marching towards their voting centers then one of the soldiers chanted "vote for Allawi" less than a hundred meters, the convoy stopped and the captain in charge yelled at the soldier who did that and said:
"You're a member of the military institution and you have absolutely no right to support any political entity or interfere with the people's choice. This is Iraq's army, not Allawi's".
This was a good sign indeed and the young officer's statement was met by applause from the people on the street.
The streets were completely empty except for the Iraqi and the coalition forces' patrols, and of course kids seizing the chance to play soccer!
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', 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 friends, 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.
Is there a bigger victory than this? I believe not.
I still recall the first group of comments that came to this blog 14 months ago when many of the readers asked "The Model?"
"Model for what?"
Take a look today to meet the model of courage and human desire to achieve freedom; people walking across the fire to cast their votes.
Could any model match this one? Could any bravery match the Iraqis'?
Let the remaining tyrants of the world learn the lesson from this day.
The media is reporting only explosions and suicide attacks that killed and injured many Iraqis so far but this hasn't stopped the Iraqis from marching towards their voting stations with more determination. Iraqis have truly raced the sun.
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.
Mohammed and Omar.
I remember how I felt when I came home from a trip to East Berlin during the Cold War. I had seen true political oppression there and experienced having machine guns trained on me at the Wall. Through that small experience I learned a little of the value of freedom. Omar, I, too, shed grateful tears the next time I cast a ballot and I have never forgotten what I learned in that short view of Communism.
Today I shed grateful tears for you, too.You have not let us down and someday you'll know the joy of living in total freedom and casting a fearless ballot.
God/Allah bless the Iraqi people.