In Iraq: NO VOTE...NO FOOD!! Incredible! -
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old Feb 1st, 2005, 03:25 AM Thread Starter
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In Iraq: NO VOTE...NO FOOD!! Incredible!

If this isn't evil, then I don't know what is.

January 31, 2005
Some Just Voted for Food

Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail

BAGHDAD, Jan 31 (IPS) - 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.

”I went to the voting centre and gave my name and district where I lived to a man,” said Wassif Hamsa, a 32-year-old journalist who lives in the predominantly Shia area Janila in Baghdad. ”This man then sent me to the person who distributed my monthly food ration.”

Mohammed Ra'ad, an engineering student who lives in the Baya'a district of the capital city reported a similar experience.

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.

Many Iraqis had expressed fears before the election that their monthly food rations would be cut if they did not vote. They said they had to sign voter registration forms in order to pick up their food supplies.

Their experiences on the day of polling have underscored many of their concerns about questionable methods used by the U.S.-backed Iraqi interim government to increase voter turnout.

Just days before the election, 52 year-old Amin Hajar who owns an auto garage in central Baghdad had said: ”I'll vote because I can't afford to have my food ration cut...if that happened, me and my family would starve to death.”

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.

Other questions have arisen over methods to persuade people to vote. U.S. troops tried to coax voters in Ramadi, capital city of the al-Anbar province west of Baghdad to come out to vote, AP reported.

IECI officials have meanwhile 'downgraded' their earlier estimate of voter turnout.

IECI spokesman Farid Ayar had declared a 72 percent turnout earlier, a figure given also by the Bush Administration.

But at a press conference Ayar backtracked on his earlier figure, saying the turnout would be nearer 60 percent of registered voters.

The earlier figure of 72 percent, he said, was ”only guessing” and ”just an estimate” that had been based on ”very rough, word of mouth estimates gathered informally from the field.” He added that it will be some time before the IECI can issue accurate figures on the turnout.

”Percentages and numbers come only after counting and will be announced when it's over,” he said. ”It is too soon to say that those were the official numbers.”

Where there was a large turnout, the motivation behind the voting and the processes both appeared questionable. The Kurds up north were voting for autonomy, if not independence. In the south and elsewhere Shias were competing with Kurds for a bigger say in the 275-member national assembly.

In some places like Mosul the turnout was heavier than expected. But many of the voters came from outside, and identity checks on voters appeared lax. Others spoke of vote-buying bids.

The Bush Administration has lauded the success of the Iraq election, but doubtful voting practices and claims about voter turnout are both mired in controversy.

Election violence too was being seen differently across the political spectrum.

More than 30 Iraqis, a U.S. soldier, and at least 10 British troops died Sunday. Hundreds of Iraqis were also wounded in attacks across Baghdad, in Baquba 50km northeast of the capital as well as in the northern cities Mosul and Kirkuk.

The British troops were on board a C-130 transport plane that crashed near Balad city just northwest of Baghdad. The British military has yet to reveal the cause of the crash.

Despite unprecedented security measures in which 300,000 U.S. and Iraqi security forces were brought in to curb the violence, nine suicide bombers and frequent mortar attacks took a heavy toll in the capital city, while strings of attacks were reported around the rest of the country.

As U..S. President George W. Bush saw it, ”some Iraqis were killed while exercising their rights as citizens.”

Posted by Dahr_Jamail at January 31, 2005 03:34 PM

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A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything. - Malcolm X
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old Feb 1st, 2005, 07:00 AM
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Thats not the most shining example of democracy, but many (Western included, i think Australia even) countries it is compulsary to vote lest the authorities slap a fine on you or send you to prision for "Failing to do your democratic duties".

And by comparison to say....Zimbabwe, then thats hugs and kisses to food-vote relationship.

In the Binga district in Zim for example, Mugabe (Who has banned all foreign journos from his big banana) has stopped all Meli Maize and food into this areas (And many others) just beacause they "Voted" for the Democratic movement (The opposition whos leader is exiled or imprisoned every 5 minutes for treasonous activities) (If they didnt vote theyd be in trouble) instead of ZANU there was a difference either way they vote but thats besides the point. Bob was offended he didnt get a 100% vote so he cuts of the food to the supporters of the opposition (Why have an opposition if people are punished for voting them or intimidated to vote bob or else), sends in the machete wheilding ZANU boys and kicks out Save the Children and other Aid organizations from these areas.
Meanwhile those people who were doing their legaly binding duty of voting, are now living on (Literally) Bark and Leaves. Theres a famine going on (At the immediately "Pre Ethiopia 1980 stage"), where Bob chooses most of its victems.

So, the above mentioned, is definately not evil in comparison. They wernt trying to control the vote or supress it, quite the opposite.
But I forgot, democracy is evil right?
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old Feb 1st, 2005, 07:45 AM
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when that vote is primarily set up to be able to congratulate yourself with "bringing democracy into power" and having so to say only a puppet to vote for, then it IS perverse, but even I agree that compared to a lot of other situations it's a jump forwards instead of a jump backwards, so even so it's a good thing...

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old Feb 1st, 2005, 10:10 AM
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Hiphip horray for the culturally advanced Free-World.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old Feb 1st, 2005, 10:05 PM
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This article was written by a one man self-appointed news service. It's more of a web log than anything.

Forgive me if I find the source a bit unreliable.

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