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Monday, January 31, 2005

In This Case the Carrot Was Quite Literally a Carrot 

Courtesy of our distinguished colleagues Avedon Carol and Rorschach: With most Western sources dutifully describing yesterday's elections as the boldest leap yet in Iraq's 3000-meter steeplechase to freedom, we have to wonder why all the bloggers on the ground in Iraq are irresponsibly spreading the same baseless urban legend. From Dahr Jamail of Iraq Dispatches (writing here for InterPress News Service):
Voting in Baghdad was linked with receipt of food rations, several voters said after the Sunday poll.

Many Iraqis said Monday that their names were marked on a list provided by the government agency that provides monthly food rations before they were allowed to vote . . . .

[Mohammed] Ra'ad, 23, said he saw the man who distributed monthly food rations in his district at his polling station. ”The food dealer, who I know personally of course, took my name and those of my family who were voting,” he said. ”Only then did I get my ballot and was allowed to vote.”

”Two of the food dealers I know told me personally that our food rations would be withheld if we did not vote,” said Saeed Jodhet, a 21-year-old engineering student who voted in the Hay al-Jihad district of Baghdad.

There has been no official indication that Iraqis who did not vote would not receive their monthly food rations . . . .

[Amin] Hajar told IPS that when he picked up his monthly food ration recently, he was forced to sign a form stating that he had picked up his voter registration. He had feared that the government would use this information to track those who did not vote.

Calls to the Independent Electoral Commission for Iraq (IECI) and to the Ministry of Trade, which is responsible for the distribution of the monthly food ration, were not returned.
From Raed in the Middle:
It is well known all over Iraq now that if you didn't go to vote, the government will cut your monthly food rations. EVERYONE is talking about this, and EVERYONE believes it too!!! and this is one of the main reasons of why millions of poor and destroyed Iraqis were dragged out of their homes today and sent to election centers in the middle of explosions and bullets. They don't give a damn about elections, they want food. Millions of Iraqis don't have the possibility of testing whether this rumor is true or false, this is about surviving. They are ready to put their lives in danger to go get their monthly food rations.

Even the orders of sistani are not enough to get them out of their homes to go vote. They don't give a damn for bushy freedom.

"I will go and drop a blank ballot, I just want my family's food rations", a friend of my brother Khalid told him a couple of days ago in Baghdad. I called khalid in Baghdad twice today to see what was happening, and he said the same thing i heard on the BBC, that an explosion was happening every two minutes!! . . . .

The "Iraqi government" is announcing confusing and wrong numbers to the public. Instead of announcing the ratio of Voters to the Eligible Voters, the numbers announced are the ratio of the Voters to the Registered Voters!!!!

For example, the number of Iraqis that registered their names in Jordan are less than 20% of the eligible voters living in Jordan, so when 90% of the registered voters go to vote, it means that less than 18% of the total number voted... 90% is not the real number that should be announced to people!!!!!
From Khalid Jarrar of Tell Me a Secret:

Today, was full of explosions.

i didnt leave the house, and the same goes for so many families.

i saw the press conference of the "highest commission for the elections" who organized, supposadly, everyting in the elections, right after the voting centers closed, 5 pm this afternoon.

the journalists asked the excecutive director: how did you know that the percentage of the voters in iraq is 72% like you announced?

he asnwered: "well, the head of every voting center estimated that basing on the length of the line of the voters as he saw it!"

hehehe! see how sceintific? how accurate? he actually said that!

the way the voting happened, is that you go to the voting center, and you go to the man that is your ration dealer, the one that you take the ration from him every month, so you tell him that you are gonna vote, he marks your name on his list, and then you vote!!!

that way the goverment will know exactly who voted and who didnt, two dealers said that the next years' card won't be given to those who didnt vote.. hmm...

Tara, my great producer and wonderful friend, designed a joke, i gave it to a freind of mine here in baghdad to draw it but i couldnt scan it because no shops are openned in baghdad, anyways, its for Bush removing the curtain and producing the new Iraqi president, Mr. 245 ( a number only, the president doesnt think its safe to reveal his name) and the picture of the Iraqi president, wearing a cover on his face, like the national guard.


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