Skip to comments.A True Story About the Iraqi Overseas Elections and Freeper Activism
Posted on 01/29/2005 6:13:04 PM PST by kristinn
File thus under: It ain't braggin' if it's true.
Back in October, the D.C. Chapter of Free Republic staged a rally for our Iraqi friends in Lafayette Park in front of the White House.
The rally, held on October 25, was hastily put together in two weeks because the Iraqis wanted to send a message of support for President Bush before the U.S. election on November 2.
About 30 Iraqis along with a dozen Freepers attended the rally. The media turnout was mixed. Local Washington area media ignored the rally, but NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, Al Hurra and Al Arybia (sp) all sent camera crews.
The American networks were interested in covering former Rep. Bob Dornan. However, Mr. Dornan had a family medical emergency that morning and ended up arriving after the rally had ended.
The camera crews stayed for the duration of the rally. We started it late, in hopes that some late arriving Iraqis might show, and ended it early when they didn't. The camera crews were very understanding and didn't complain.
Once we got under way, the rally went really well. We had a mix of Iraqi and American speakers. The Iraqis spoke very passionately in Arabic. Even though we couldn't understand the words, their anger at the terrorists and their gratefulness to America and President Bush needed no translating.
In the small crowd, Iraqi families held signs in English and Arabic expressing their thanks to President Bush for liberating their country.
We ended the rally an hour earlier than scheduled because of the low attendance. Mr. Dornan showed up after that, but he stayed for a long time listening to the Iraqis as they informed him about conditions in Iraq and problems here in some of the programs targeting Iraq.
Afterward, we felt like the rally hadn't been as successful as it could have been. The American media didn't report on it, and it didn't seem to get much play overseas.
But then, something happened. The Arab language networks showed the rally in Iraq. Requests were made for copies of the rally and soon a hand held camera version of the rally was being distributed on the Internet among Iraqis online.
What was said at the rally struck a chord with many Iraqis, such that the rally came to the attention of the highest levels of government there. One thing that caught their attention was the call by our friend Nofel Al-jazairi for the inclusion of Iraqi exiles in the upcoming Iraqi elections. After the rally, the government decided to establish the overseas voting program for the Iraqi exiles. Confirmation of this came in a PalTalk session last week.
A current candidate who used to be a spokesman for Prime Minister Allawi was complaining about the low turnout in the overseas elections. He said, "because of that rally in front of the White House, we spent $90 million dollars" on the overseas elections.
While the turnout has been low, it is alot better than it would have been had there been no program at all. The group handling the elections did the best they could with only two months to do it.
I went to the polling place in New Carrolton, Maryland with our friend Nofel today to witness him voting in his first free Iraqi election. There were hundreds of Iraqis waiting in line to vote. Many of them had brought their families, even though the children could not vote.
It was quite emotional when Nofel emerged from the building with his index finger dyed purple. It was a dream come true for him, and so many others.
An election worker told me a story about one voter. Yesterday, an Iraqi man stood before the ballot box and held his completed ballot in the air. He said, in a loud voice in Arabic, as he thrust his ballot in the box, "F--- Saddam! F--- Bin laden! F--- Zarqawi! F--- the terrorists!"
EAGLES UP !!!
Excellent, Kristinn! Great job, as usual. Heartwarming!
There is a tagline in there.
And God bless you, kristinn. I had no idea you'd organized this.
You should be VERY proud that you helped make this happen, kristinn. It is a shining achievement.
God Bless Free Republic!! :)
great post, kristinn. Question: is this rally the same one you all had and which the Iraqis came from behind....taking you by surprise? It was shown on C-SPAM...I can't remember the Immam's name who spoke at that rally...and I just saw him speaking on FOX a few minutes ago.
God bless that cursing voter!
simply outstanding kristinn..........ya done did good
fyi..... interesting events taking place with this election
F' yea! Today, we are all Iraqi!
Awesome. Simply awesome.
Thank you and all the others who helped make this possible. A great service. Saw on a blog the other day (sorry, can't remember which one) that called FreeRepublic "a virtual think tank." LOL
Would just add to those wonderfully Iraqi spoken words, "F--- Ted Kennedy, F--- John Kerry, F--- Barbara Boxer, F--- the whole damn Democrat "traitor/treason" Party!
And only because FReepers got involved, got the message out overseas. As always, the DC Chapter RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!
You forgot F----Tikrit Teddy K!
Thank you Kristinn, you are awesome anyway but this is above and beyond. God bless the Iraqi people as they vote and our troops protecting them.
Wow!! Thanks for sharing that bit of history with us!
I always admire your hard work and determination, kristinn. God bless you for all you do.
Kristinn........you are truly doing the work of the Lord.
Iraq voting day Ping!
AM over on the live thread cheering on the Iraqis....As I looked at the pictures Sir Francis Scott's poem came to mind.
Breathes there the man with soul so dead
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Bush gets it!
Oh man! You just brought a tear to my eye with that sentence. I bet it was a very emotional moment for you - not to mention your friend Nofel and his family.
Freedom, and free democracy. Nothing quite like it.
Excellent job Kristinn!!!!!
What a great story. You planted the seed..Hooray for you!
I've only been a Freepr since this year. Ran into Chieftain in a parking lot with his Swiftees sticker on his car. He told me about Freerepublic and encouraged me to join. I then became involved in the election....BIG TIME. Seeing the pics of the Iraquis voting was the second time I felt that all my minute efforts meant something. The first time was when Bush won.
The best part of Freeping is that you get so much more back than you "give"!
and the left says Democracy and liberty can't take root.
I saw the Imam earlier on Fox today, too. The rally you're thinking of is the October 2002 rally that C-SPAN covered. That's where we first met the Iraqis. I figured the Lord put us together that day.
Kudos to the DC Chapter!
In case you didn't think your efforts amounted to anything, this should confirm that they do! You have made a lot of Iraqis very happy! And allowed them to vote for the first time in a free Iraqi election! That's something to brag to your kids and grandkids about!
Forcing the legacy media to cover it also didn't hurt. :^)
You are so right. We never know what will transpire as a result of our actions. The only thing we're sure of is if we do nothing, then nothing will change.
Your ripple in the pond. You, my friend, enfranchised hundreds of thousands of people across the world.
It makes it all so worthwhile, doesn't it, Kristinn!! A little rally, and look at what it brought about!
Yes, you are right, kristinn; and I do believe so you're right, kristinn...what a wonderful thing to feel, being used by God for such a cause. Congratulations to you and all of you...
a butterfly's wings....
You guys are the the best!
"An election worker told me a story about one voter. Yesterday, an Iraqi man stood before the ballot box and held his completed ballot in the air. He said, in a loud voice in Arabic, as he thrust his ballot in the box, "F--- Saddam! F--- Bin laden! F--- Zarqawi! F--- the terrorists!"
GOTTA LOVE IT!
Who would have thought...
That what one man started with the FR Forum in February 1997 has brought forth such fruit (worldwide no less!) eight years later.
Thank you Jim and Kristinn
Great story, Kristinn--wonderful, in fact. Thanks for posting this!
Kristinn, thanks for all you and the DC chapter do.
You are one of the real heros, kristinn...along with so many others who do not seek glory for themselves but the well being of others.
Kristinn, you are an American original, and an American Hero.
To the Iraqi minister who complained about money wasted: Emphatically not true. The election centers in the US have provided a focal point for media coverage by local stations, national networks and cable networks, and blogs. This coverage, which is replete with stories like the ones you related, is inspiring and is reminding Americans of why we are there. I saw a segment today with an American mother and her son celebrating with Iraqis at a polling place. The American son was in the service and is soon to depart for Iraq, and spoke proudly and eloquently of how he looked forward to the privilege of serving in Iraq and helping the Iraqi people. It's quagmire-free news, and its some of the best money the Iraqi interim government has spent, especially in terms of their US public relations.
Oh my gosh, a celebrity has arrived here!
Reading your post brought tears to my eyes. Well done. Bless you.
Quagmire-free news indeed. These past few days have seen the American media focusing on the Iraqis here in the states like never before. And it's been 99 percent positive coverage. They should hold elections more often :-)