The Daily Demarche
Sunday, January 30, 2005
True Heroes - the People of Iraq
Back in December, when the Daily Demarche was still quite young, I blogged about giving the Nobel Prize to Iraqi bloggers. Today, I would like to extend my hand in admiration to all Iraqis who voted in their country's landmark elections. You have shown what true bravery is, and I salute you for it.

While it would be foolish to consider Iraq out of the woods, there is no doubting that these elections are an important first step. There are still many steps to be taken, and no doubt the losers, er insurgents, are not done yet, but these results make it pretty clear: they don't speak for the average Iraqi, and it appears that they don't even speak for the average Sunni. The road to freedom and democracy is a long and hard one, but there must be a first step. And Iraqis have shown themselves able to take that step. Maybe this will help put to rest the notion that Arabs can't handle democracy.

What next? One of the few wise things I learned in my Poli Sci classes in college was that the first election in a country is not as important as the second one. Iraq still has a long way to go in order to becoming a self-sustaining democracy and it will need the help of the United States and those members of the international community that care. Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Palestinian Authority need to be assured of having future elections. The same would be true of any other nascent democracies in the region. To do that, their respective polities must become secure, stable, and safe. That is going to take work - possibly generations worth of work. But that shouldn't deter us. The only way out is through.

Imagine a Middle East with a democratic Palestine living next to a democratic Israel, and a democratic Iraq. Not that far away in South Asia, a democratic Afghanistan abuts Pakistan and India, both democracies. While I don't mean to say that this is the situation today, it is fair to say that this scenario is entirely possible -- much more plausible than it would have been four years ago. With the continued attention of the United States, United Kingdom and like-minded allies, it can become a reality.

(This is the end of this post. Ignore the link below.)

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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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