Like many people, I confess to a fair amount of skepticism about the possibility that democracy is going to blossom in Iraq or Afghanistan as a result of the military actions we’ve been engaged in for much of this decade.

That skepticism has not been erased. But I also confess to a certain amount of humility after reading Stephen Lee Myers’ report on Sunday’s election in Iraq.

No matter what else I might think about the election, I marveled at this paragraph:

“Iraqis defied a barrage of mortars, rockets and other bombs to show up to the polls in strength on Sunday, in elections that have been seen as a critical test of Iraq’s stability and a last milestone before American troops leave the country.”

Elections marred by violence are not as rare as we might hope in today’s world. Perhaps we are even a little jaded at hearing stories about them. But the question lingers: How many of us would defy “a barrage of mortars, rockets and other bombs” to go out and cast a ballot?


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Keith Graham

Keith Graham

Keith Graham was among the recipients of the prestigious Stella Artois prize at the 2010 Edinburgh Festival. Named for a blind piano player, he is also well known for always giving money to street accordion players. A quotation that he considers meaningful comes from the Irish writer Roddy Doyle: "The family trees of the poor don't grow to any height." In addition to contributing to Like the Dew, Keith frequently posts quotations and links and occasionally longer articles at http://tartantambourine.com/