Friday, January 07, 2005

Iraqi Expats Vote

Iraqi expats can vote in 14 countries. The countries are:

Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Iran, Jordan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Voter registration takes place from January 17 to January 23, 2005. Voters need to prove their Iraqi identity with proper documents so they could register to vote. Voting takes place from January 28 to January 30, 2005. It means the voter needs to travel twice to the voting center.

Iraqi expats living in America can vote in Washington, D.C., Nashville, Tenn., Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles. Dallas is not on the list. The nearest city is Nashville, which is more than 10-hour drive from Dallas. It would've been nice to have voting polls in Dallas or Houston for the Iraqi community in Texas. Oh well, it's the first election. I don't expect it to be perfect. Nobody should expect it to be perfect.

In Detroit, the ChaldoAssyrian community is taking matters seriously because of the way we, the smallest and oldest minority in Iraq, feel marginalized in today's Iraq.

The Macomb Daily reported:

Martin Manna of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce, based in Farmington Hills, said the Chaldean community is split over the violence-plagued situation in Iraq as the election approaches. Many still cherish the liberation of their homeland from the grip of Saddam, but others see a country in chaos where no one is safe. Most hope that the elections will put the war-torn nation on a new path.

As the vote approaches, Manna said, Chaldean-Americans are determined to give Iraqi Christians a stronger voice at the ballot box. Many Chaldeans express irritation that the worldwide media portrays Iraq as a land comprised of three groups -- Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. In addition, Chaldeans scoff at the notion that Christians -- Chaldeans and Assyrians -- represent 1 percent or less of Iraq's population. Manna said 5 percent is a more accurate figure.

"It's almost like we've been stripped of our identification," said Manna, 31. "A large number of us expatriates are here in the U.S. and it's important to us, since we're such a small part of the population over there, to increase their voice."


As you can tell, ChaldoAssyrians are fighting for their rights by voting in the next election. They're taking a peaceful approach to solve their problems. I'm proud to be part of this minority.

UPDATE 01/08/2004
For in-depth information about the Iraqi elections, check Kat's latest post.

For continuous daily coverage of the Iraqi elections, check Iraqi Election Blog.

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