Purple Fingers in Iraq Have Doubters, Tyrants Seeing Red, by Ak’bar Shabazz

Now, the world knows.

For several months, bitter liberals, terrified Arab monarchs and dictators everywhere told the world Muslims weren’t prepared for democracy.  They essentially claimed voting is a luxury exclusively for those in the West.  Terrorists tried every conceivable measure to intimidate Iraqi voters into staying home.

All of these attempts to suppress the vote in Iraq were smashed en masse on January 31 as millions of Iraqis braced for the uncertainty of their journey and marched to the polls.

How sadly were the cynics mistaken?  Old men in crutches joined young women in burqas at the polls.  Those with handicaps voted alongside those in excellent health.  All braved the terrorist threats and ignored the cynics to show a human resilience that sets an example for the world.

Hours before voting began, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour publicized the terrorists’ claim that they had bombs planted at every Iraqi polling station.  American liberals, still angry about George W. Bush’s re-election, produced a cloud of doubt that rained down cold skepticism.

Iraqi voters, however, were undeterred.  They walked to the polls gracefully and proudly as they claimed control of their beloved country only recently liberated from Saddam Hussein’s regime by the United States and its allies.

Sporting index fingers dyed purple to announce their participation in the historic elections, Iraqis proved the doubters wrong with their mix of defiance and hope.

The most important and far-reaching aspect of their actions is that they prove that Muslims are ready to control their own destinies.  Muslim countries can elect their own leaders.  Oil-driven monarchies and repressive ayatollahs are not true representatives of the people and should not be exclusive leaders in the Muslim world. 

What happened in Iraq sends a signal to the rest of the oppressed world.  George W. Bush is serious about exporting freedom where liberty has been scarce.  He should be taken at his word.

Although President Bush may never get the proper credit within our own country, millions of Iraqis greatly appreciate the liberty he has afforded their people.  While John Kerry continues to promote his infamous and morbid pessimism, the mayor of Baghdad wants to erect a statue of our president in his city.  While Ted Kennedy wants an immediate pull-out of our troops, Iraqi citizens welcomed the security they provided at the polling stations and throughout the post-war rebuilding.  They appreciate the liberty our troops have secured for them from the hands of their once brutal, but now toothless, dictator.

The world should take notice and not be surprised by the words of determined voters – those undeterred by the threats from internal vigilantes or the negativism of foreign politicians.  It is like the defiance of blacks who went to the polls in this country 40 years ago despite the intimidation of the KKK.

Others now oppressed in the Middle East are undoubtedly hoping for their day to shine as well.  They hope to one day drench their proud fingers in purple dye and display the new symbols of freedom that have been secured for themselves and their families. 

This is yet another example of the endurance of the human spirit.  Despite cultural differences and local customs, human beings are essentially alike.  Everyone wants to control their own destiny.  Regardless of country or region, nobody wants to yield their personal and familial well-being to another mortal.

People have resisted tyranny in Iraq and throughout the world.  In many cases, the governments are too powerful to overcome internally and foreign assistance is needed. 

Freedom is well on the march in Iraq.  Doomsday politicians in America and foreign terrorists and tyrants should take notice.  Purple fingers may be appearing in their neighborhoods soon. 

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Ak’Bar Shabazz, an Atlanta native, is president of Shabazz Enterprises  and member of African-American leadership network, Project 21.  Comments can be sent to [email protected].

Published by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21 or the National Center for Public Policy Research.

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