Friday, October 14, 2005


Disturbing, Hassan writes Iraqis abroad cannot vote in the upcoming constitution referendum.

KurdMedia headlined the same thing a month ago:

Kurds and Iraqis abroad cannot vote on the constitution
KurdishMedia, UK - 15 Sep 2005
... 15 September 2005: The Kurds and Iraqis abroad cannot vote in the referendum to decide on the draft of the Iraqi constitution, which will be ...

Only now I just keep getting a "Bad Request" message and can't read the article. Scouring for other mentions but not finding any. Why isn't this out there?

And infuriatingly (well alright, annoyingly, I don't get furious very often) when I take up the last google resort to find anything via blog all I come up with are links referencing blogs that I've already read and this site. Which is flattering but it suggests there is not much information about this and people are reliant on too few sources because it's getting more difficult to find out what is going on inside Iraq. Or more to the point, what is going on about being an Iraqi abroad.

Basically there's a great big Iraq media hole right now. Iraq does not have a critical mass of bloggers and journo's are either embedded and controlled or bailing out because independent reporting is becoming too dangerous for foreigners with cameras and without local knowledge smarts. The remaining dribble of info is dependent on press releases from government organisations. And a handful of blogs.

And still no more info on whether or not Iraqis outside Iraq can vote during the referendum.

mentions other referendum peculiarities, salam has shutted up again and not posted for weeks and river almost writes what I'm working up to; there is an interest void and these three alone can't be expected to cover each and every detail that nobody else does. I half hoped I might find something new at Iraq The Model and didn't. What they have posted is fairly much a summary of what mainstream news outlets are reporting; last minute deals, Sunni boycott, ratification looks to go through. Piling publishes a comprehensive summary with question and answer section but it is unsurprisingly Kurdocentric, which is fine, it just means that I'm not finding the expat type info I'm looking for. You might think I could find it on Fayrouz's blog, but bless her soul, she is selflessly embracing the neglected gay and lesbian community instead.

And why does it worry me that Kurds and Iraqis outside Iraq may not be legible to vote in the referendum? Because it means that those who have left are deliberately cut off from the decision making process and prospects for their return diminish. There isn't even an option to boycott the vote, the decision has already been made by someone else. People tend to leave warzones because it's not safe and they are unhappy with the situation. It's a subtle form of protest not uncommon under unpleasant regimes past and present. Now why would a demographic like that be excluded hmm. Braindrain, exodus, exile, call it what you will, it doesn't seem all that different to what was happening during the Saddam UN sanction years.

Not looking especially grand from where I stand.

So, two questions.

1. Can or cannot Iraqis outside Iraq vote in the referendum?
2. If not, why?

TAI wrote a big long post about it, if you can patiently wade your way through the stuff about hoaxs he'll get to the point eventually (he has kindly recreated the moment below in comments). But why is nobody else publishing this. What is going on? Not in the msm anywhere, you'd think it'd be prime op-ed fodder but no, dead silencio.


#10/14/2005 11:26:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger Truth About Iraqis

Hi Emigre,

Thanx for coming round to my blog this week.

But had you come on Tuesday, the 11th of October, you would have seen that I wrote about why Iraqis abroad ARE NOT being allowed to vote.


Say you are a 41-year-old university professor teaching at the American University in London. Your country is about to go through the most crucial socio-political vote in its history. You desperately want your voice heard. You go to your embassy flying the great red, white, and blue.

"Sorry, man, you can't vote," says the embassy official.

"Say what? Why not, what about absentee ballots? Didn't the January elections allow for absentee ballots and all the media filmed people voting in Sweden and Hungary and Jordan?"

"Look, you can't vote!"

Of course, you, Mr. America would be outraged. Absolutely livid. This is your democratic right. You wouldn't stand for it. No sireebob!

So, why is it acceptable for that to happen to Iraqis?

Yep, all you lovely proponents of democracy in Iraq. All you who think you speak in the name of justice. Iraqis outside their country - numbering some four million - are not allowed to vote.

Let me repeat that, not allowed to vote.

Still waving your flags? I asked one Iraqi yesterday - a Shia friend - what his thoughts on the prohibition on absentee ballots.

"Because they know the Iraqis outside are educated and won't be stirred to vote this way or that by some religious decree. They know a majority of Iraqis outside will vote "No" to the referendum".

I have to add that the above statement in no way says the Iraqis in Iraq are less educated. But there are different forces at play inside the war-ravaged country.

#10/15/2005 03:21:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger richsanter

why is it always something about the US? either a flat out lie, a little racist joke, or a slight jab like this comment. if you want people outside of iraq to vote, then pay for it your damn self. the US paid for all those people in sweden, hungary, and jordan to vote in the jan. election. either pay for it yourself and have all those people fly into fallujah international airport this weekend and cast their ballot in person. im sick of paying for you ungreatful savages. i've never seen a group of people that were as lazy or complained as much as you muslims. if you want your country to be better, get off your fat ass and do something. show some respect for once.

#10/15/2005 03:31:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger Bill

maybe it has something to do with the 2/3 NO vote in 3 different places thingy ?

#10/15/2005 12:14:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger Aunt Najma

The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) has made it clear that the Electoral Law allows Iraqis residing abroad to participate in the up-coming elections scheduled for 15 December 2005, but they will not be able to vote in the referendum on the constitution on 15 October 2005.....more information:

The neighbours talked to some American soldiers in our street (In Mosul- Iraq) about not being able to vote and the confusion we're in, they said : "We've been here for 2 years to bring democracy in Iraq, and that's what we get, we want to go home!".

#10/15/2005 12:19:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Hans not Blix

It’s too late rich, it’s already happened. Polls “were scheduled to close at 5PM”.

Bill, ya, And funny how borders have been shutdown and Baghdad airport closed until Monday.

#10/15/2005 12:26:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

The money argument is a tired and mute point, a major economy can afford to fund a large scale military operation in the name of democracy but not afford to pay for people to vote? Something is amiss.

#10/15/2005 12:27:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger emigre

Polls scheduled to close at 5PM? Is that Iraq time? Have they closed already?

I’m pretty much disgusted with press coverage, zilchomundo info in the articles I’m reading. It’s all press release stuff chocked up with opinion to fill the gaps. Nobody seems to have much information about it and a lot of it seems pre-prepared to appear current. What is happening.

#10/15/2005 12:29:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger emigre

Thanks Najma, more info from you in two short paragraphs then half an hour of googling.

#10/15/2005 02:42:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger Aunt Najma

About the time, It's still 2:30 PM here, two and a half hours are left..
However, if more people are still gathering outside, they're still going to take votes. That's what we've been told since large numbers were outside our voting center.. But, the police were doing a damn good job at confusing people today!


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