The Daily Demarche
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Of Elections & Bitter Grapes
When the MSM in America and Euroville celebrated the elections in Iraq as fervently as the most ardent supporters of the regime change in Iraq it seemed as if the future of the Middle East (ME) had turned a corner. Somewhat lost in the jubilation over the elections and the celebration of the courage of the people of Iraq, however, were the Palestinians. Fresh off a Sunday of elections themselves, not all Palestinian intellectuals were pleased to have their thunder stolen.

Certain elements in Palestine and their anti-Semitic supporters in America and Euroville are gnashing their teeth at the thought of democracy in Iraq. Democracy may well be contagious, and peace just might break out in the region. For those who earn their bread and butter on the suffering of the Palestinian people, either as "politicians" in the Palestinian Authority (PA) or as intellectuals who have built their careers on bashing Israel and America, the idea of the end of hostilities between Israel and the PA is frightening. Each new crisis in the region, every homicide bomber and military exchange is greeted with pronounced shadenfreude. And now, in the shadow of the Iraqi elections, real change just might be on the horizon. The millions of refugees that have been created by the stinginess of the Arab world (to borrow a word from the UN) may actually have a shot at a peaceful future.

The Palestine Chronicle, a website which counts Noam Chomsky as an honorary editorial board member, recently published an on-line article entitled "Iraq Elections: Democracy or Hypocrisy". Care to guess which side the article settles on?

After the obligatory nod towards the courage of the Iraqis and the universal right to freedom the author quickly, and awkwardly, pulls Dr. Martin Luther King into the ME peace process:

A common American will continue to face the day-to-day problems. The drug mafia will continue to grow, Social Security issues will remain, and Medicare and Medicaid may not resolve the problems of a common man.

If Martin Luther King, Jr, was alive today, he would have organized a similar movement as of his own: a broad-based protest movement to halt the immense damage wrought by America’s unquestioning and virtually unconditional support of the racist policies of the Likud government in Israel and the ongoing brutal and illegal occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; as well as the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan; and ongoing grave violations of the Geneva Conventions and the Convention against Torture for the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, and in private jails and torture centers elsewhere in the world.

I suppose that the author is free to conjecture whatever he may wish for any potential actions or stance Dr. King might have taken were he alive today. What follows, however, is pure fantasy. The author has as his central theme that the entire election process in Iraq was a sham, set up by the American government to assuage the Iraqi people and take their minds off the occupation. To that end the "occupiers" will and have used any and all means to control the country:

A lot of Iraqis believe that a lot of the attacks and unrest have been orchestrated by the occupying forces using covert operations, stock-in-trade of both the interim prime minister Allawi and the current US viceroy ('Ambassador') John Negroponte. The areas where security 'militates against voting' are those where voters can't be relied on to vote for someone 'unpalatable'.

Electronic Iraq, a partner site to the Electronic Intifada, has taken another approach: discredit the elections by belittling the number and types of voters:

Millions of Iraqis participated in the election, but it is still unclear how many. International journalists were limited to five polling stations in Baghdad , four of which were in Shi'a districts with expected high turnout. The U.S.-backed election commission in Iraq originally announced a 72% participation immediately after the polls closed, then downscaled that to "near 60%" - actually claiming about 57% turn-out. But those figures are all still misleading. The Washington Post reported (two days after the vote, on page 7 of the Style section) that the 60% figure is based on the claim that 8 million out of 14 million eligible Iraqis turned out. But the 14 million figure itself is misleading, because it only includes those registered Iraqis, not the 18 million actually eligible voters. Similarly, the claim of very high voter participation among Iraqi exiles is misleading, since only 280,000 or so Iraqis abroad even registered, out of about 1.2 million qualified to register and vote. The participation of women, both as candidates (imposed by the U.S.-backed electoral law) and as voters, was significant, but key demands of Iraqi women, particularly involving economic and social rights disproportionately denied to women, are unlikely to be met through this electoral process.

Their goal: to turn the story back to Palestine.

There were no international monitors in the country [Iraq]- unlike Afghanistan (with 122 monitors) and Palestine (with 800) during difficult elections held under occupation..

As American foreign policy becomes more focused on the spread of democracy and freedom we must not forget the people of Palestine. I am not speaking of the PA here, the sooner we can forget about them the better, but rather the families which the Arab world has held hostage all these many years in order to have poster children for their jihad against Israel. We must not let the bitterness of petty men who have come to love their status as the downtrodden darlings of the world for the terrorist chic interfere with peace. When even al Jazeera recognizes that the President is sincere when he says

"The goal of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace is within reach - and America will help them achieve that goal,"

we must keep in mind that losers often cry bitter grapes.

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dé·marche 1) A course of action; a maneuver. 2) A diplomatic representation or protest 3) A statement or protest addressed by citizens to public authorities.

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