I was talking to a friend under the evening sky here in Iraq when all of a sudden, it was like being in Star Wars. Red bolts began crisscrossing the sky and turned into a barrage. We both stopped and stared. Then we looked at each other as if deciding to run or not. We heard massive amounts of gunfire and decided that the red electric-looking bolts were tracer rounds. It erupted from all parts of Kirkuk at once, it seemed.
No alarms went off, but some of those rounds were definitely coming over the base, and for every tracer that goes up there are five bullets you don’t see, and all going to come down somewhere! Well, that was quite a thrill because it really seemed quite a combat-like commotion. What could be the cause of this craziness?
Turns out….it wasn’t the elections 4 days from then. It wasn’t a battle. It wasn’t political factions vying for control. It was…Iraq had beaten Iran in a soccer game! But I’d never seen anything like that over here before.
Election day? Pretty Quiet. But I’ll tell you something: These people love their freedom. They love to vote, especially women are enjoying their new rights. This one Iraqi voter got on the news and made a bold statement in her choppy English, something a woman could never dare do here before. She said these interesting words, almost as if she followed the news in America;
“Anybody who doesn't appreciate what America has done and the President Bush, let them go to hell.” BETTY DAWISHA
Her words, not mine!
It’s kind of funny, actually, but as it has been said by one commentator, noting the appreciation of Iraqis, “This is Bush country!” The Kurds, who are the “majority minority” in this country, have even been running “Thank You America” ads on TV. I can’t believe what a difference a year here has made.
Yeah, it’s getting a little too quiet here for an adventure-seeking guy like myself. I was thinking of moving to a more dangerous place, maybe some place like….Washington D.C.?
Just kidding! But what I see here seems so different than what I hear on the news. I thought you might enjoy some tidbits from another side of the story.