27 September 2016
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas




  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  •    - Bahrain
  •    - Iran
  •    - Iraq
  •    - Israel
  •    - Jordan
  •    - Kuwait
  •    - Lebanon
  •    - Oman
  •    - Palestine
  •    - Qatar
  •    - Saudi Arabia
  •    - Syria
  •    - Turkey
  •    - United Arab Emirates
  •    - Yemen
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato


    » 01/29/2005, 00.00

    IRAQ

    A dogged Iraq vs a lukewarm West

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Who would have thought that voting would have made Iraqi expats dance and sing, enthused about their chance to cast a ballot. For a year, we had been used to scenes of insurgents blowing themselves up, people having their throats cut, building destroyed, a country involved in a so-called civil war under foreign occupation. Like a broken record, the media showed us an Iraq slipping into chaos where an election was but a useless farce.

    Listening to Iraqi expatriates or former refugees in Australia, Dubai, Iran, Syria or Great Britain one is instead surprised. Some told AsiaNews that the elections are a great opportunity, a "small step" forward on the path towards a free Iraq.

    So far the media has tended to highlight the lowlights: a lop-sided and sepia-like election campaign, curfews in the cities, closed airports and sealed borders . . . And yet four Iraqis in five want the elections. Even Sunnis are not against them—they just want them delayed to be better organised.

    Iraq's interim government decided otherwise. Better bite the bullet now and go for the elections for there is no certainty that a delay would have improved security.

    What is true is that many really want to taste this fruit forbidden for more than fifty years. "For years," said Salamah al-Khafaji, a Shiite candidate running in Baghdad, "we have been prevented from tasting what democracy is and it's important we go through with these elections".

    This lady is not a pushover, someone easy to deter.  If she could not campaign in the streets, she would the do it using e-mail messaging. If she could not speak at rallies, with her children in a safe place far from snipers, she would visit Sunni families trying to get them to vote.

    And she was not alone is stressing the importance of voting; Iraqi bishops including the Chaldean Patriarch also emphasised how much voting was a duty.

    By contrast, Europeans seem lukewarm. Once upon a time they would have cheered any sign of democracy as a progressive step. Now, instead, they turn up their noses at the US occupier.

    But didn't the Palestinians in early January hold a democratic election with one voter in two under Israeli occupation? That was hailed as an example of a people using democracy and liberty against its occupier.

    Of course, not every Palestinian was able to vote; neither will every Iraqi. In 4 of Iraq's 18 provinces voting won't be an easy thing to do. In Mosul gangs of fundamentalists and other groups have already destroyed ballots and polling stations.

    But Shiites will vote and they are 60 per cent of the electorate; so will Kurds in the north who are 15-20 per cent. Even many Sunnis are likely to cast their ballot, if only in polling stations far from home. Just to be safe.

    AsiaNews has already reported that some Sunni Baathists who had fled to Italy have flown home to vote.

    In Syria, where the Baath Party is in power, people are realising that these elections matter. Many Syrians are asking themselves why they can't have free elections and independent candidates.

    What's more, these elections are having an impact on the Muslim world.  As much as they expect to win, Shiite religious leaders stressed in the last few days that the new Iraq would not be a fundamentalist state.

    As much as insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi might threaten "to wash the streets of Baghdad with the voters' blood" and destroy polling stations which he calls "centres of atheism and of vice", there are Muslim scholars who are exploring the compatibility of Islam and democracy.

    Dia al-Shakarchi is a Muslim theologian living in Baghdad.  He recently wrote that there is no credible alternative to democracy—it is either democracy or an Iranian-styled theocratic dictatorship or personal dictatorships which abound in the Middle East.

    It is becoming increasingly clear that throughout the Muslim world, from Indonesia to Malaysia and Pakistan, people are discussing modernity, democracy and the fight against terrorism. This would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

    In Iraq a moderate Islam is trying to express itself, one that the West has always sought out as a partner, one that the West is in danger of abandoning to the brutality of terrorism. 

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version










    See also

    13/02/2005 IRAQ
    Final results released
    About 8.55 million voters cast their ballot. The al-Sistani-backed coalition won 47.6 per cent of the vote, Kurds, 25.4 per cent, Iyad Allawi's list, 13.6 per cent. Turn out was 59 per cent. Sunnis' absence is worrisome.

    16/03/2005 IRAQ
    New Iraqi parliament opens


    15/03/2005 IRAQ
    Talks on new Iraq government back on
    Shiites and Kurds will meet representatives from Sunni community and outgoing Prime Minister Allawi's party. An official from the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq says non-elected officials will represent Sunnis in the government as well.

    26/01/2005 IRAQ
    Iraqi elections: an overview
    First open elections in after years of dictatorship, war and occupation.

    14/02/2005 IRAQ
    Sharia will not be basic law, says Bishop Sako
    The Bishop of Kirkuk tells AsiaNews that Sunnis will join the government because Shiites and Kurds cannot govern alone.



    Editor's choices

    ASIANEWS SYMPOSIUM
    Mother Teresa, Mercy for Asia and for the world (VIDEO)



    We publish the video recordings of the presentations made at the international symposium organised by AsiaNews on 2 September. In order of appearance: Fr Ferruccio Brambillasca, PIME Superior General; Card Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide; Sr Mary Prema, Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity; Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, postulator of the Cause of Mother Teresa; Card Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai; Fr John A. Worthley, on the influence of Mother Teresa in China; a witness to the influence of Mother Teresa in the Islamic world; and Mgr Paul Hinder, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia.


    CHINA-VATICAN
    Beijing issues new, harsh draft regulations on religious activities

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Fines of up to 200 thousand yuan (27 thousand euro) for "illegal religious activities" by Catholic or other members of underground communities. "Illegal activities" include "dependence from abroad" (such as the relationship with the Vatican). The regulations preach non-discrimination, but party members are forbidden to practice their religion, even in private. Strict control of buildings, statues, crosses. Clampdown on the internet. It could be the end of the underground community.
     


    AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!

    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.
     

    SUBSCRIBE NOW

    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google









     

    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®