March 16, 2010, - 1:28 am
Last week, Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens–who previously gushed over an extremist imam and other Hezbollah-supporting “protesters” in Iran–declared that Iraqis “embrace” democracy more than we Westerners do because they desire freedom more. With their choice of the decidedly un-free Koran and Islamic law as the basis for their laws, Christians being unable to survive there (a Chaldean bishop was kidnapped and murdered by these, um, “democracy lovers”), and the fact that women of all sorts must now wear a hijab and can’t wear short sleeves in public, Stephens’ definition of freedom must be different than how the rest of us define it.
Despite Bret Stephens’ Fantasy, Iraq’s Faux-Democracy is For Muslims Only
But even these facts aside, in Stephens’ rush to declare Shi’ite Muslims who now run Iraq as the greatest Patrick Henrys and Jeffersonian thinkers ever, Stephens missed a few facts. First, there’s that tiny little detail he apparently forgot: that Shi’ites running the elections continued to try and were somewhat successful in forcing out many Sunni candidates and parties from the elections. Perhaps he missed even his own newspaper’s coverage of this inconvenient fact.
And then there’s this news we learned over the weekend: that the Shi’ites in Iraq decided to throw out 30% of the ballots cast by mostly Christian (and some Sunni) Iraqis living in the United States–who can’t live in their once native land or that of their parents (the elections allow the kids of at least one Iraqi parent to vote).
About 30% of ballots submitted by Iraqi-Americans are being rejected in Arbil, Iraq’s headquarters for the Out-of-Country Voting (OCV) program. The U.S.-based Iraq Elections marked the third-largest OCV voter turnout worldwide.
Arbil is still receiving the U.S. tally by electronic submission from each of the centers, including Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, and Arizona. Center Directors from across America have been directed to throw away ballots for unknown reasons.
In the Michigan centers, 2,000 out of 6,100 ballots in the Warren location were rejected by Arbil, and 700 out of the 3,000 ballots in the Dearborn location were also rejected. In Arizona, 600 out of the 2,400 ballots were rejected. In Chicago, 1,100 out of the 3,500 ballots were rejected. All of these locations contain a high number of Iraqi Christian voters.
Although Iraq Christians showed two forms of identification before voting, Arbil has not indicated why ballots have been denied.
“They allowed the voters to come in to vote just to appease them at the time, to prevent fighting,” said Detroit’s Chaldean Assyrian Syriac Representative Alan Mansour. “But now their voice will not be heard, and they feel they voted.”
Many of the votes rejected were from Christians, Iraqi’s indigenous population who has been the target of attacks in northern Iraq.
The validity of votes from California is still pending word from Arbil.
California, by the way, is home to the second largest population of Chaldeans–Iraqi Catholics, who mostly reside in the San Diego area. So, you can bet they didn’t count most of those votes, either.
Yup, lets hear it for those “democrats” of Iraq. And don’t forget that everyone in the Middle East–from HAMAS to Hezbollah to the Muslim Brotherhood to the Bin Laden types in Saudi Arabia–loves democracy when they can keep their opposition from both becoming and voting for candidates. A little Islamic Jim Crow is good for all “democracies,” right?
Actually, it looks like Stephens is completely wrong about Westerners’ vs. Iraqi Muslims’ love of democracy and who likes it best. I’d say the dead Westerners of Cook County who continue to vote in the afterlife love democratic elections just as much as the live Iraqis who continue to keep Christians and Sunnis mostly out of the process.
As much as I despise Joe Biden, his oft-ridiculed idea of splitting Iraq up between Sunnis, Shi’ites, and Kurds sounds much better than the reality of handing the whole country over to Iran-supporting Shi’ites who disenfranchise everyone else. Clearly, he was right (for once in his political life) that these groups simply can’t live together or get along, despite the gushing fantasy otherwise.
Sorry, Bret–and we know you read my site when I write about you (since you mentioned it in a previous WSJ column)–your idea about Muslims loving democracy is pure utopian dreaming. They only “love” it, when they are the only participants and the sole winners.
And, sorry, everyone else who felt George Bush’s extension of democracy to this savage world was a good idea. As Isreali diplomat Moshe Arens said, “This is the Middle East, not the Middle West.” It ain’t the place for democratic elections. They’re neither actually “democratic” nor real “elections.”
Tags: Assyriac, Assyrian, Assyrians, Bret Stephens, Chaldean, Chaldeans, Christians, Democracy, elections, faux-democracy, Iraq, Iraqi elections, Sunni, Wall Street Journal