Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Well the Palestinians certainly have their candidates decked out in spiffy suits, photographed casting ballots with cultured pinkies raised higher than any authoritarian strong man would ever allow:
They've got the political rallies too, building grassroots support for the candidates, and also killing any stray pigeons dumb enough to fly overhead:
It's also a great sign when a society cares enough about Democracy to mount a serious election-day "Get Out The Vote (or else)" effort:
Oops, my bad. Wrong category entirely. While getting out the vote is important, this is the traditional Democratic "Parade of Party Gunmen" at pre-election funerals for murdered campaign workers -- many Westerners may not be so familiar with this ritual yet, but it grows on you. Sorry, don't know how I missed that one.
And of course, finally, the obligatory purple fingers. I'm not sure it's legal to hold an election without purple fingers anymore:
Perhaps I'm unfairly analyzing the wrong purple-finger picture here. While this woman does exhibit a certain grim glee, she just seems to lack a certain excitement. I'm not picking up her sense of joy from the exercise of the right to choose her own path in life rather than merely select one of two competing plans to use the voters as cannon fodder. Let's check another picture, just to be fair:
Whoops, that's an Iraqi. She does seem happy though, doesn't she? How about this one instead:
Where's the joy? Oh, maybe this is just another bad example. Perhaps the photographer accidentally snapped this voter's picture at the precise moment he realized his colostomy bag needed changing. Who knows?
Obviously, I'm just a non-Palestinian blogger with no awareness of what's really going on there. I suppose I should hope that, contrary to the photos I'm seeing, most Palestinian voters really are overjoyed with the opportunity to choose between holy war waged in the name of Allah, and the same war waged in the name of Arafat. Perhaps if Palestinian voters really do share that sense of exhiliration the Iraqis displayed when they finally had a chance to vote for a post-Saddam way of life, then there is a chance they will truly measure what they get over the next few years, and perhaps in the "next election" -- we can only hope -- they will choose a life. And of course I do hope my cynicism is entirely misplaced and a Fatah-Hamas coalition government, giddy on the fumes of democracy, will shortly usher in an era of regional peace. Yup.
In the meantime, if you want to get a better idea of what's really going on at the Palestinian polls, check out Patrick Belton at Oxblog who is on the scene.
Technorati Tags: palestinian, democracy, elections, purple fingers, campaign rally shootouts, unmitigated joy