Sunday, January 30, 2005

Good News from Iraq:

The BBC has an encouraging log reporting on Iraq's first multi-party elections in more than half a century. It includes reports from around the country, most of them suggesting a good turnout:

  • Across the south of the country, thousands of people have turned up to the polls, so many that a number of polling stations are staying open past the 1700 (1400 GMT) closing time.
  • People have been literally streaming towards polling stations. I have never witnessed this huge turnout for long time.
  • Last minute voters ran into polling stations tonight and squeezed through the gates as they were closing. And tonight the ballot papers are now being at the al-Jibayal polling station in the darkness, illuminated only by torches and lanterns.
  • The turnout was very good, with a lot of joy and enthusiasm among voters despite the difficulties in moving from their homes to the polling stations. People told me they were participating to make their voices heard, even if the situation was difficult. They said they were not afraid of the insurgents. Some of them were carrying white banners in the shape of a hand palm as a sign of a defiance against the insurgents.

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