The Iraqi elections to vote for the Iraq version of a “Constitutional Congress” came and gone, and the overall mood of Iraqis, there in Iraq and all over the world, is one of resolution, caution, but, most importantly, JOY.
On “Good Morning America” this morning (seeing this show is part of my “get-ready-for-work” ritual), I saw an Iraqi man, one day after the elections, proudly hold up his forefinger, still stained purple after he cast his ballot. He had not washed his hands since yesterday, perhaps wanting to keep that feeling of nervous energy before a new beginning, of hope, around just a little while longer.
Oh, the Iraqi people are realistic — insurgents did attack on election day, but not as much as the “streets awashed with blood” as they threatened to do. More Iraqis came to the polls than were expected, but many Sunni Muslims voluntarily boycotted the elections. It is their right to do so; but many Muslims, Sunni, Shia, and otherwise, did not vote because of fear, which brings to mind post-Civil War South, when freed slaves feared going to the polls lest they get lynched for trying to be an active member of their government, of trying to have a voice.
The Iraqi people know they have much work ahead of them, much work to build a nation where all the voices of the Iraqi people have the freedom to say how they want to live their life, choose their livelihood, pursue their dreams. It is hard, it is long, and much blood, sweat, and tears will fall and water Iraq before they see the real fruits of this election. But that is another day, another time; for now, *now*, they feel joy. And who can blame them?