Thursday, January 27, 2005

Beginning To See The Light...In Seattle

Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat admits he was wrong to say you can't install democracy at the barrel of a gun in Iraq:

Because there democracy is, poking up amid the rubble and the gun-toting Marines on the eve of Iraq's first national election in decades.

Listen to Reyal Sindi, a Sunni Kurd who now lives in Kent. Everyone he knows in his north Iraq hometown of Zakho plans to vote this weekend.

"I talk to them and they say they are hungry for democracy," Sindi said.
Same with the father, six siblings and various in-laws of Burien's Muhamed Qatrani, a Shiite from the southern Iraq city of Basra.

"Everyone will vote, because we have all been waiting for this day for ... for forever," Qatrani said.

Or Seattle's Yahya Al-Garib, raised in Zubayr, southern Iraq, where his father, three sisters, four brothers and all his cousins and in-laws are ready to vote.

"This is our dream, that after this weekend Iraq will be a democracy," he said.

All three of these men, still Iraqi citizens, drove 20 hours each way to Los Angeles last weekend to register. They'll repeat the trip, starting tomorrow, to cast their ballots.

....talking with them melted some of my skepticism about the future, even amid news that parts of Iraq are so violent people are scared to go to the polls.

....the fact that Iraq is holding an election at all — that millions who were oppressed are now free to vote — is cause for unabashed celebration.

By all of us. Including those who think it was a mistake to go there in the first place.

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