Sunday, January 30, 2005
No reports on Al-Jazz of dancing, or pride in ink-stained fingers, or smiling faces.
UPDATE: Islam Online paints a very different picture:
As jovial mood colored Shiite neighborhoods and cities across Iraq on election day, a grim one was the hallmark of Sunni-dominated areas which looked like virtual ghost towns with deserted polling stations.
Shiite voters queued outside polling stations, mainly in the south, to cast their ballots enthusiastically, answering a call from their spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani.
In the Shiite district of Al-Washash, in central Baghdad, voters flocked to a polling station in Al-Intsar primary school amid watertight security.
Seems about right, and a far cry from the coverage on Al Jazeera.
UPDATE: Khaleej Times, an English-language paper in the United Arab Emerites, has fairly positive election coverage:
BAGHDAD - Some smiled, some were stoic and others kept their faces hidden as Iraqis trickled to the polls on Sunday, braving anti-US insurgents determined to drown the historic vote in blood.
Fear of attack hung heavy over the first multiparty poll in 50 years. Not long after voting began, explosions shook Baghdad, killing a dozen people near polling stations. There were other attacks in the south and to the north of the capital.
In Falluja, the devastated Sunni city west of Baghdad that was an insurgent stronghold until a US assault in November, a thin stream of people turned out to vote, defying expectations.
“We want to be like other Iraqis, we don’t want to always be in opposition,” said Ahmed Jassim, smiling after voting.
In Baquba, a rebellious city northeast of Baghdad, crowds clapped and cheered at one voting site.
UPDATE: Cassandra has more. Lots more.
UPDATE: Deutsche Welle has nothing to report other than a single paragraph emphasizing the casualties. The Jerusalem Post sees a glass half-full and rounds up the coverage in Arab papers (well worth reading).
Solid stuff, Tigerhawk. I really don't like the right- and left-wing lines that seemingly have been drawn in the sand over Iraq. On the one hand, I don't like war generally (Ben Franklin: "There's no such thing as a good war or a bad peace"), and I don't like the Bush Administration's handling of Iraq. On the other hand, these stories are very compelling, and the spread of democracy is a wonderful thing. I also agree that some of these Hitler-like hatemongers should be punched hard. And getting the average citizen to vote in a free election is about the best way to do it.