web counter Media Lies: Shiites and the Iraqi elections

Thursday, January 27, 2005

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Shiites and the Iraqi elections

Through the prism of Sheik Adnan Aidani, the Washington Post examines the attitudes of Shiite Iraqis in southern Iraq. It's a lengthy but interesting piece that delves into the reasons people will vote
"We have to participate," said Amir, standing before a shelf lined with small packets of cardamom, pepper, sesame, shredded coconut and baking soda. "We don't want to feel regret in the future that we didn't participate."

A customer, Munir Ahmed, jumped in: "We wish the election was today, not tomorrow."
to their attitude toward Iyad Allawi
Conversations in Yusufan, though, tend to defy the stereotypes. Allawi, running as an incumbent, often generates praise, and at the very least, respect. To some, he's seen as formidable, drawing on Iraqi admiration for toughness. Many view him as capable, relaxed, unburdened by the rhetoric of the past and unhindered by ties to Iran fostered by some Islamic groups. A few note that he sprinkles his language with Arabic from the south, in contrast to the heavy dialect of Tikrit spoken by ousted president Saddam Hussein.

Shahim, one villager said in describing him -- decent and noble.
to their memories of abandonment by the coalition in 1991.
Hardly a conversation about history in Yusufan passes without a mention of the 1991 rebellion. Convinced of U.S. support, the rebels seized cities and towns all the way to the approaches of Baghdad. That support never came, though, an unforgivable betrayal to many here. Hussein soon exacted his revenge, with his troops leveling historic swaths of Shiite towns, bombarding shrines in Najaf and Karbala and executing thousands on the spot. Perhaps as many as 100,000 were massacred in reprisal killings.
The US has abandoned far too many in the past as they yearned for freedom. President Bush's call to abandon the callous policies of the past should be heeded by all Americans and guide our government in all its future dealings.

Let us never again abandon people seeking freedom in their hour of need.