Friday, April 22, 2011

It takes guts to vote for the opposition

A studious statue in front of the public library
I have been following the pre- election news from Canada. I knew as soon as it was announced that I would not be voting this time. I would be able to register on-line, but the paper ballot needs to be mailed to me and then mailed back before the  polls close. This country has a pretty well non-existent postal system so this not work for me this time.

But I have also been following the call by Rick Mercer to the young adults of Canada to get out and vote. It is exciting to see the vote mob videos and I hope that many young people take the time to get out and let their voice be heard.

Two days ago we interviewed a young man who is attending university here in Suleymania. He joined a convey of 16 buses (approx 500 students and teachers) who were heading to the courthouse to protest and ask why the people who killed the 9 protestors since mid February, have not been brought to justice.

As they travelled they were detained for 8 hours by police and soldiers. One of the first things the security forces did when they brought them to a deserted road was to demand that all who were part of opposition parties to get off the buses. They were told that the authorities knew who they were. Many tried to claim that they were neutral but those who were brave enough to get off the buses were beaten and verbally abused.

These students were very interested in speaking with us in Azadi Square.
Opposition TV stations have been burned and/or surrounded allegedly bysoldiers of the ruling parties. It is a dangerous thing to go against the main two parties (PUK and KDP). There are many more stories that I am just learning. But I am grasping the fact that being involved in politics, especially for those who are speaking against corruption ,has the potential of demanding  a stronger commitment than it does in Canada.

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