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Passions in Poetry

democracy

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Aenimal
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since 11-18-2002
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0 posted 01-31-2005 08:50 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

i sometimes wish i could live in the world some are living in right now.there's comfort in illusions, or is it delusions?

but troubling as reality is, i've gotten into the annoying habit of, i dunno.. questioning things. call me faithless, call me cynical, call me worse, but elections in iraq raise a few questions.

like:

how do you hold truly free elections in the midst of war, under occupation, and under threat of death?

how much time/thought can possibly go into a selection when the candidates are only revealed to you at the moment of voting?

how do you make an educated choice when you're unaware of the candidates platforms?

how are they truly democratic elections when a large portion of the population(Sunnis)boycott and protest them.

but i digress, afterall, who am i to rain on the parade of fantasies and back-patting. enjoy yourselves whomever you are.

who knows, some day i may join in, i'm off to see a man about some land in florida


Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


1 posted 01-31-2005 09:07 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Raphael,


how are they truly democratic elections when a large portion of the population(Sunnis)boycott and protest them.

An editor for the Weekly Standard drew a parallel regarding the Sunnis
that I had been waiting for someone in the media to make; he compared
the Sunnis to Afrikaners in South Africa.  It would have been considered
unconscionable to allow their little or no participation to delegitimize
an election participated in by the majority, and I think a similar act
of non-participation by the Sunnis should be considered in similar light.


how, how,

I guess weve just been shown,
at least an attempt.  And for millions
theres no going back to the way it was.

Its easy to find fault;
all life is suffering; desire is the source of suffering;
to end suffering, extinguish desire; in other words
give up.

P.S.

Ill bet a similar list could have been composed
in November.
Tim
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since 06-08-99
Posts 1801


2 posted 01-31-2005 09:10 PM       View Profile for Tim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Tim

Wow, I agree totally. How can anyone say those pathetic Iraqis with their inkstained fingers was a sign of a positive step towards democracy.

Heck, the voting percentage in Iraq went down dramatically from just a few short years ago.  The last election they held the turnout was substantially higher and none of this divisive election when the whole country was 100 per cent behind one candidate.

And whole sections of the country were not even required to vote in the prior election.  Sheesh, now that is democracy in action with the Kurds given the opportunity to stay home and not vote.

And all those other Middle East countries who complain about the occupation, just imagine how proud they are of their democratic right to vote in their country.  Heck, the only other countries voting, let's see, the Afghans and the Palestinians... sheesh, they are under occupation also.

And, imagine that lunatic who is the mayor of Baghdad who wants to build a statute of Bush as a symbol of freedom knowing that all the democratic loving insurgents and foreign terrorists are making every attempt possible to assassinate him like they did his predecessor.

Yep, people need to rid themselves of their delusions and get on the Ted Kennedy bandwagon.
Denise
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3 posted 01-31-2005 09:29 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I think that the Iraqi turnout and vote, in the face of death, says it all. They cast a vote for democracy over tyranny. And they were willing to die to do so.
Balladeer
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4 posted 01-31-2005 10:10 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Yes, they were, Denise. They make some of us sitting in our comfortable security complaining look pretty small. They are the heroes...
Tim
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since 06-08-99
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5 posted 01-31-2005 10:59 PM       View Profile for Tim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Tim

The most amazing scenes to me were the mothers with their children.  It is not possible to even begin to comprehend the life the Iraqi people were forced to endure and then to see the mothers walking through gauntlets of soldiers and barbed wire for miles to vote with children in arms.  

The one young woman who had her family taken away to never be seen again in an ethnic cleansing and then the joy on her face as she voted and showed her inked stained finger to the world...  

It does make one take pause...
Balladeer
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6 posted 01-31-2005 11:47 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

That it does, Tim. There have been many heroic pictures over time and I think that picture of her ranks right up there with the best of them.

BTW, for those who think that Sunnis compose a large part of the population of Iraq, the actual figure is 20%.
Aenimal
Member Rara Avis
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7 posted 02-01-2005 03:03 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

20% of a population isn't large?
Balladeer
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8 posted 02-01-2005 08:18 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

20% means that 4 out of 5 Iraqis are not Sunnis. I don't think that qualifies them as a "large part of the population".....but, then, that's a matter of opinion.
Mistletoe Angel
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9 posted 02-02-2005 01:20 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Iraq is a very geographically and culturally diverse place.

I think the most interesting fact of all is that over 40% of Iraq's entire population is 14 years of age or below. Over five million boys, over five million girls in the nation's total population of about 25 1/2 million.

I think the greatest misconception about Iraq and the people who live there is that the ethnic groups are often confused with the groups. As far as ethnic groups are concerned, 75-80% of the population is Arabic, with the Kurds populating 15-20% and Turkoman, Assyrians, etc. 5%.

The Sunnis comprise of 20% of Iraq's population, and that may not seem like a lot, but you have to remember the Kurds make up just less than 20% of the population too. The Shiites are the only majority group in Iraq, which make up about 60%, and then you have very small minorities in-between.

4 out of 5 Iraqis are not Sunnis. Same can be said for the Kurds. The fact is, all three of these groups play a vital role in the social and cultural destiny of this country, and if one should feel suppressed, that may create negative effect.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20

Balladeer
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10 posted 02-02-2005 07:43 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I don't think the point is that the SUnnis feel suppressed, Noah. I think they are worried about any possible backlash against them. After all, they were the favored ones during Husein's rule, while the other groups were tortured, murdered and discriminated against. No wonder they hate the US for taking Hussein out. Now they are not and they may be worried about being treated like the French prostitutes who, with shaven heads, were paraded through the streets in France after the liberation and damned for being Nazi collaborators. They would have good reason to feel that way although I feel their fears are not justified.

On an interesting note, a SUnni cleric was on the news tonight that Sunnis were not well-represented because too many Sunnis stayed away from the voting booths. The funny part is that this was the same cleric who publicly told the Sunnis to stay home and boycott the vote. Go figure....
JoshG
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since 11-16-2004
Posts 127
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11 posted 02-03-2005 10:23 AM       View Profile for JoshG   Email JoshG   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JoshG

How about we step back a few hundred years and maybe we could do some news coverage on the first US elections.  The signing of our constitution and so on.

Wow, look at those idiots who decided to leave British oppression to start a new world.

What if we had decided to wait for a "peaceful alternative" and stayed in England.  Yeah, maybe that kind of peace would have been better?
Aenimal
Member Rara Avis
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12 posted 02-03-2005 10:30 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

"The Sunnis comprise of 20% of Iraq's population, and that may not seem like a lot, but you have to remember the Kurds make up just less than 20% of the population too."

exactly the point noah.imagine 20% of a population or better yet, an entire minority, purposely boycotting an election any other place in the world and i wonder if reaction would be different.as for iraq under a shiite majority, noam chomsky offered some excellent insight into the situation
http://www.counterpunch.org/chomsky02022005.html
Denise
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13 posted 02-03-2005 10:53 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

If someone boycotts an election, they have no one to blame but themselves. If they want their voices heard, they should vote, plain and simple. Isn't that what we always hear...if you don't bother to vote, don't complain about who gets elected? Should it be different in Iraq? Every group in Iraq has the ability to be a participant in the framing of their constitution. Perhaps that is where their focus should be at this time.
Ron
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14 posted 02-03-2005 11:03 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
What if we had decided to wait for a "peaceful alternative" and stayed in England.

You mean like Canada and Australia, Josh?
Aenimal
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15 posted 02-04-2005 12:44 AM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal


"If they want their voices heard, they should vote, plain and simple."

nothing about the situation in iraq is plain and simple Denise.in the midst of war,under occupation,and absolutely unaware of your candidates let alone their platforms, how the hell does one know who represents their voice?

a country must hold and manage its own elections when it is ready, when it decides, not it's occupiers.

i'm appalled that some can't, or refuse to comprehend where keeping candidates hidden from voters until election time, would call into question the legitimacy of an election.actually, apply any of the situations in the original post to your own elections and tell me you'd accept them.
Huan Yi
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16 posted 02-04-2005 12:51 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Im wondering about the American elections during the Civil War.
Aenimal
Member Rara Avis
since 11-18-2002
Posts 7451
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17 posted 02-04-2005 01:08 AM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

i was under the impression that a civil war was defined as a war between factions/states of the same country, perhaps i'm mistaken?

or were you under attack and occupation by a foreign nation at the time as well? Were the candidates hidden from you during said election? i'm straining to see the parallels between your civil war and the examples i gave in the intial post.
Denise
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18 posted 02-04-2005 07:56 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

So you feel our "occupation" prevented large numbers of the Sunni's from voting? Why did it not stop the other groups, I wonder? Perhaps because the other groups didn't have their clerics urging a boycott? Why then is the blame not placed where it belongs?

The voting went forward, it was a great example of courage and determination by the Iraqi people that sent an unmistakable message to the terrorists and nay-sayers despite the non-participation of some. And that won't change despite the continued criticism.

No election is ever perfect, anywhere, and it never will be. Waiting for 'perfect' is just a witholding of the democratic process.

Ron
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19 posted 02-04-2005 08:34 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Waiting for perfect may be a withholding of the democratic process, Denise, but working for perfect is the essence of that process. A nation occupied, by definition, is not free.

The recent elections are a fine start. A damn fine start. But still just a start.
Aenimal
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20 posted 02-04-2005 08:49 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

yessss Denise that's precisely what i said, occupation was the sole reason for boycotting the election. sigh.it was a factor in their decision, amongst the others i listed and that fail to be addressed.

"why then is the blame not placed where it belongs?"

i did.the blame rests on doubts within the Sunni population. doubts raised by the factors i listed, factors that would lead you to call into question your elections were you under similar circumstances.and if you can't admit that it would affect your decision, youre not lying to me, but to yourself.

"Perhaps because the other groups didn't have their clerics urging a boycott?"

could very well be a part of it? so what? i seem to recall the christian and catholic churches guilting american voters not to support Kerry. a vote for kerry was tantamount to sin etc. meddling religious agendas aren't limited to the middle east.

but again, if you honestly believe that's the sole determining factor, or that the factors listed don't raise legitimate questions about fair elections...well. happy delusions
Balladeer
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21 posted 02-04-2005 09:10 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I find this entire thread sincerely sad.

I don't think any of us here have any idea what the Iraqis felt or went through in this election. For months Iraqis have been murdered for any type of participation with the allied forces. They had been warned not to vote under threat of death. Every Iraqi knew that they were putting their lives on the line by voting. Yet they voted. They walked miles. They carried their children. Some were pushed by wheelchair. I wonder how many of us would have done the same. They could have been shot on the street, attacked by suicide bombers or have the voting building blown up while they were in it. All of these threats were very real. Yet they voted - 8 million of them. They showed the world that they were not afraid. They showed their desire to be free. They held up their fingers in the sign of a "V", proudly displaying the ink signifying their vote. They laughed, joked and danced in the streets in the face of death. They were not forced to vote - they wanted to vote. They were not forced to have an election. They wanted it and they showed the world their pride of being Iraqis.

Yet we have here people who, by fortune of birth and no personal action on their part, enjoy the basic freedoms the Iraqis are willing to die to be able to vote for and we call the actions in Iraq "parades of fantasies", belittle the action they have shown they believe in and basically call them fools for being hoodwinked so easily. We sit in a comfy chair in front of our computers and throw in wisecracks and act superior in our knowledge. Well, to eight million Iraqis it was not a parade of fantasy - it was risking their lives for doing what they believed in - and anyone who cannot recognize and respect that has my sympathy.  
Alicat
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22 posted 02-04-2005 09:50 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

If I'm mistaken here, feel free to correct me.  The year of 1812 was an election year.  The War of 1812 was England trying to regain lost territory in their eyes, and was in invasion in ours.  They burned our White House and raided the land, killing all who opposed them.  We rallied, we took the war to them, we overcame and conqured.  And we voted!

Yes, it was in the past.  It was almost 200 years ago.  And we forget the hard lessons of the past.  I'm sure the sheer joy the Iraqis felt has been felt here as well, but not for a very long time.

I am proud to be able to vote here.  I take my time and weigh each candidate for every position.  It is an honor and a priviledge, and I feel joy every time I am able to participate.  I still remember my disappointment at being 17 and 10 1/2 months in 1988 and not being able to vote.
Aenimal
Member Rara Avis
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23 posted 02-04-2005 10:32 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

"I find this entire thread sincerely sad."

as i do blind devotion, in all its forms.

i would like nothing more than to be completely wrong about the outcome.i'm in awe of those who did vote, but it breaks my heart that their hopes may be for naught.this thread was never a question of iraqi spirit, or of their willingness to dream.you make it sound like i've undermined them.

what the thread is about, are the realities that surround the election itself. factors that would call into question the legitimacy of an election on ANY other place in the world.and while i'd like nothing more than to be completely wrong about this, a rational look at the situation as it stands,continued occupation, and the possibility of another puppet regime paints and the dangers that poses in the future paint a bleak picture.


Alicat: "We rallied, we took the war to them, we overcame and conqured.  And we voted!"

All choices YOU made, not choices offered to you under the watchful eye of your occupiers.in the end the vote was carried out after the occupation/attack, on your terms and with full knowledge of your candidates.

Denise
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24 posted 02-05-2005 10:30 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I guess we can take any situation in life and either see the silver linings in the dark clouds or focus only on the dark clouds, no matter how bright the silver linings may be.

It is my impression that those on the Left, including those in the Democratic leadership, who are fomenting this controversy, are doing so because to admit that the Iraqi elections were a success would be an undermining of their pessimism, and might be seen as giving credence to Bush's policies, and therefore might be seen as a relinquishing of any political power that they may still have.

Raph, some churches may have "guilted" their congregations. I'm sure most simply told them to vote their consciences and for the candidates that most closely aligned with their own personal convictions on the issues. And I haven't heard of any that called for a boycott of the elections.

Yes, Ron, it was a great start. I don't think anyone even indicated that it wasn't that, a start in the process, that it was somehow an end in and of itself. But I have to disagree with you in the charcterization of our presence as an occupation. The sense that I get is that the vast majority of the Iraqis view us as their protectors and want us to stay until that time comes when their own forces are fully trained and ready to take over the task.

 
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