Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Sheer Determination

The Arab News reports on some Iraqi pilgrims who are eager to return to Iraq in order to vote:

Over 60 Iraqi pilgrims took to the streets in Shisha district here just before Maghreb prayers yesterday, demanding to be returned home to Iraq in time for the elections set for Feb. 2.

“We represent 13,000 Sunni and Shiite Iraqi men and women here for Haj from every part of Iraq. We were scheduled to leave this week, but now we’re told that our return flights will be delayed until as late as Feb. 6,” one man told Arab News.

As they walked, more than a dozen men and women carried signs stating, “If we are not counted now, when will we ever be heard?” Others carried signs that said: “In order to be freed from occupation and to secure the future of our children, we all must vote.”

“We are maybe 70 people here, but behind us are thousands of other Iraqis who are stuck here and want to go home and take part in the elections. We are all being deprived of taking part in what is now our right. We ask the Saudi authorities to help us in getting back in time for elections.”

The Iraqi people are serious about this election, and they are determined not to let their future be determined by thugs and criminals who claim to speak for all Muslims. I certainly hope that these Haj pilgrims will make it back, and I think this story is another harbinger of a huge turnout on Sunday.