* Threatened with "a blood bath" from the insurgents, they came to vote in the millions
"I am not afraid," said Samir Khalil Ibrahim. "This is like a festival for all Iraqis."* Instead of keeping a low profile, some wore their festival clothes. They danced. /They shared chocolates. They celebrated.
"This is a wedding for all Iraqis. I congratulate all Iraqis on their newfound freedom and democracy," said Jaida Hamza, dressed in a black Islamic veil that also hid her face.
* Told that anyone with the dyed finger that marked a voter would be shot, they waved them around proudly.
Samir Hassan, 32, who lost his leg in a car bomb blast in October, was determined to vote. "I would have crawled here if I had to. I don't want terrorists to kill other Iraqis like they tried to kill me. Today I am voting for peace," he said, leaning on his metal crutches, determination in his reddened eyes.We've underestimated them. The left has for sure, but I think the right has as well. (And I did too.)
Baghdad's mayor was overcome with emotion by the turnout of voters at City Hall, where he said thousands were celebrating.
"I cannot describe what I am seeing. It is incredible. This is a vote for the future, for the children, for the rule of law, for humanity, for love," Alaa al-Tamimi told Reuters.