Michael Totten

My New Gig — Iraqi Election Coverage

By Michael J. Totten
Jim Hake from Spirit of America brought me on to edit the Friends of Democracy site during the week before and the week after the January 30 election in Iraq.
We have more than a dozen local Iraqi correspondents, at least one in each province, filing daily reports. These reports include news, interviews, quotes, photos, whatever they can get in a day. They aren’t professional journalists. They are more or less ordinary Iraqis. Some of them you already know — Omar and Mohammed from Iraq the Model, for example. Others you don’t know because they don’t speak or write in English. Their reports are translated from Arabic before they are uploaded to the reports site.
My job isn’t to edit the reports, exactly (they are published raw here), but to run a blog on the main site which summarizes, excerpts, and links to the reports from the field. I’m also going to be excerpting and linking to essays and posts in the Iraqi blogosphere and – on occasion – stories in the mainstream and Middle Eastern media. The idea is to let Iraqis themselves tell their own story of their own first free election. What I do on the site has nothing to do with me. You won’t find me bloviating there as I do here. I am invisible. My name isn’t even on it.
The site is called Friends of Democracy: Ground level election news from the people of Iraq. To the best of my knowledge there is nothing else like it anywhere out there, at least not in English. (We also have a site in Arabic here.)
If you have the time, the inclination, and your own blog, please give us a link. This isn’t about me or my ego. This is for, about, and mostly by the Iraqi people themselves.
I feel honored that Jim asked me to do this. I’ve supported Spirit of America from the beginning, donated a bit of my money, and raised thousands of dollars from readers of this site just like you. Please, give us your support one more time. This time it’s free. All we need now is a link and some readers. Thanks kindly in advance.