January 30, 2005

ZEYAD REPORTS FROM AMMAN:

The turnout in Iraq was really like nothing that I had expected. I was glued in front of tv for most of the day. My mother was in tears watching the scenes from all over the country. Iraqis had voted for peace and for a better future, despite the surrounding madness. I sincerely hope this small step would be the start of much bolder ones, and that the minority which insists on enslaving the majority of Iraqis would soon realise that all that they have accomplished till now is in vain.

Another surprise was to see some Iraqis who had fled the country in fear of reprisals, such as the families of ex-regime figures and ex-Ba’athists, actually voting and encouraging others to vote! I know some of those from school and college and I imagined they would be bitter about the whole process, but many were not.

Jordanians were wishing Iraqis luck these few days everywhere on the streets. One young man at a mall, on recognising my Iraqi accent, asked me who I would be voting for. I politely told him that I would vote for who I believe is sincere. Strangely, he said that he personally preferred Allawi and hoped most Iraqis would be voting for him. I wished his country luck as well since the King had promised direct elections for municipal councils as a first step. He dismissed that as nothing much and said that “One should start from the ‘Head’ down, not the other way around”.

Heh. No wonder Abdullah was down on the elections. Kings usually are.