Iraq’s elections went off without any major problems, a great sign for Iraq and its chances of retaining democracy. The religious fundamentalists parties didn’t win any seats. 65% of the voters turned out, way more than I had been told were expected. It was a proud day for Iraq.
I got to join General Muhammad’s entourage, having a chance to walk the streets of Basra without my Kevlar and truly mix it up. There were countless Iraqi Army forces lining the streets to protect the general, streets blocked off along his whole route. We stopped at three different voting stations. People were visibly proud and exuberant while exercising their right to vote. All voters had to dip their finger in purple ink to prevent people from voting twice. Everyone I asked to photograph held up their finger with pride. I felt the same sense of hope from people in Basra during the election as I did in NYC during the presidential election. When I asked about how they felt about Obama I got big smiles and thumbs up too.