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Baghdad - January 30, 2005

In Karada at Marjayoon Primary School:

Batool al-Musawi, "hearing those explosions, it occurred to me -- the insurgents are weak, they are afraid of democracy, they are losing. So I got my husband, and I got my parents and we all came out and voted together."

"Get out of my way," 80 year old Rashid Majid, said, hurrying by. "I want to vote."

"We have freedom now, we have human rights, we have democracy," said Mr. Majid.

"We will invite the insurgents to take part in our system. If they do, we will welcome them. If they don't, we will kill them."

"Do you hear that, do you hear the bombs?" said Hassan Jawad, a 33-year-old election worker at Lebanon High School, calling over the thud of an exploding shell. "We don't care. Do you understand? We don't care. We all have to die. To die for this, well, at least I will be dying for something."
In Baghdad Neighborhood, Voting Becomes a Communal Celebration - Dexter Filkins

"...People everywhere wanted to talk to us and thank us. This is what it must have been like when the Allies liberated Paris. Iraqis of all ages wanted to shake our hands and thank us for allowing them to vote. The kids were proud to tell us that their parents voted. Adult after adult wanted to thank us for making this day happen... When we walked the streets the Iraqis would hold their purple finger up in the air as a mark of pride. They were very proud of their purple finger.

"The Iraqis statements to us were all the same;
"Thank you for your sacrifices for the Iraqi people",
"Thank you for making this day possible"
"The United States is the true democracy in the world and is the country that makes freedom possible",
"God blessed the Iraqi people and the United States this day",
"We have never known a day like this under Saddam",
"This day is like a great feast, a wonderful holiday".

"I shook more hands today then I have ever in my life. If you missed a hand they would follow for a mile to get a chance to shake and say thanks. It was nothing like we expected or have ever seen.

"The Iraqi people were strong and brave today. The Iraqis stoic to danger, faced fear, and went out and voted. Then after they voted the Iraqis stayed on the streets to celebrate by singing, dancing and trying to shake the hand of any American that they could find..."
An Incredible Day - Major Scott Stanger, Benton, Arkansas

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