Wednesday, January 26, 2005

". . . they will have to kill me to keep me from voting"

Retired Air Force Colonel Ronald Wassom, is in Iraq working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He is quoting an Iraqi worker at his current base at Al Ramadi. I'm not so sure about voting in Iraq, Mr. Ron. Maybe, how you say 'absentee' voting would be the way to do it here. Many people may die trying to vote here, Mr. Ron. Maybe it would be better for me to go to Paris or Rome and vote from there, it would be safer for me, he said chuckling.

I agreed it might be safer and then asked Mustafa if he planned to vote any way. 'Mr. Ron, I have lived many years in Iraq. I can remember before there was a Saddam Hussein in Iraq. I have never been free to vote here, Mr. Ron. Iraqis don't know about voting. If I don't get killed going to vote or at the voting place, my vote may not even count anyway. So what have we gained? But I will tell you something, Mr. Ron; they will have to kill me to keep me from voting. And many of my tribesmen feel the same. We have suffered too much and been denied too long to not go this last step. Mr. Ron, it may be just a trickle at first, but when Iraqis see the results of their votes it will be like a flood over all Iraq. Iraqi people, Mr. Ron, want to be free more than anything else.'

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