Monday, January 31, 2005

A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.
- G. K. Chesterton Everlasting Man, 1925

The bells of freedom are ringing: How do you begin to contain the emotion of contributing to freedom for the very first time in over 50 years. And for many - the first time ever in their life? How do you contain the emotion of seeing a day arrive that you have dreamed of for many tortured, horrible, murderous nights...
Some assorted quotes from Iraqis on the eve of elections

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Great Freedom: Just Another Word?
Polls open in country's first free vote in a half-century. Bush's freedom had better be more than a song. Over-civilization and barbarism are within an inch of each other...

A string of suicide bombings and mortar attacks, some targeting lines of Iraqi voters waiting to cast their ballots in the first free elections in half a century, have killed at least 16 people and wounded at least 52 more.

Like most Americans, I've never had to be brave to vote. I just show up at the polls, negotiate the ballot, grab an "I voted" sticker and drive home satisfied that the world will continue to turn on its axis in the usual way. We're not the kind of people that kneel to terror & the sights of blood & beheadings.The people have accepted the challenge; democracy & elections are not a luxury for Iraqis, it's an issue of life or death.
Historical Times [The election in Iraq is without precedent. Never, not even in the dying days of Weimar Germany, when Nazis and Communists brawled in the streets, has there been such a concerted attempt to destroy an election through violence - with candidates unable to appear in public, election workers driven into hiding, foreign monitors forced to 'observe' from a nearby country, actual voting a gamble with death, and the only people voting safely the fortunate expatriates and exiles abroad. ; Iraq's election takes place in extraordinary circumstances, and it poses extraordinary difficulties For the Triumph of Evil' ; Election in pictures; via cigar in sand ]
• · When you read that Jordan’s King Abdullah is taking steps to organize new elections in his country, with regional election districts that look a lot like Iraq’s, you realize just how wrong my friend Peggy Noonan is when she writes that President Bush’s inaugural speech “forgot context.” Freedom Over Cynicism; [The Long Road to a Vote ]
• · · Winston Churchill was born in the grandest private house ever bought with public money... In the great drama, he was the greatest of them all Why the world is still in the shadow of Churchill ; [I've only come to realise recently that Thailand is very much a fledgling democracy itself ]
• · · · Democrats agonizing over finding their way back from their 2004 presidential defeat got a lesson in how not to do it in the Senate vote to confirm Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state. Searching for a spine: A second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience; [There was a death in Washington recently that received far less attention than it deserved: the New Democrat philosophy of Bill Clinton is dead. This is a truly extraordinary development; one that should not be allowed to pass so quietly. The Strange Death That No One Cares About]
• · · · · Anthony Wilmo writes that everyone in NSW from the Premier down is gambling with their lives stepping on to a train in Sydney. Taking us back to the good old days when the NSW Government was handing out steel contracts to BHP; G. K. Chesterton: It is terrible to contemplete how few politicians are hanged: Christian Berthelsen, Jim Herron Zamora and Todd Wallack of the San Francisco Chronicle used state campaign finance records to show that four political consultants have benefited from their association with state Sen. Don Perata: “they have collectively grossed $1.4 million from campaigns and political funds associated with Perata over the last 10 years Influence, family and political favors
• · · · · · G. K. Chesterton: When we step into the family, by the act of being born, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy-tale. Sean O’Neill of the The Times of London used Britain’s new Freedom of Information law to obtain records showing that “almost £900,000 has been spent by police to steward illegal street meetings by the radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri and his followers British Police Protection