Thursday, July 10, 2003


The rebirth of a nation. If you only read one entire story today, make it this one.
Before the second vote, every council candidate gave a two-minute speech about why they should be on the council. A 52-year-old mechanical engineer who had been arrested for not joining the Baath Party was the top vote-getter.

"I am here for the sake of our children and for the suffering of the past," Saleb Al Geilali said. "I don't know what we did to deserve this suffering. I shall pray for the coalition forces and for our people."

Dhari was the second top vote-getter and Ali Al Havday was elected to the third seat on the Baghdad City Council. The woman, Dr. Malida Sail, the coalition invitee to the meeting, received the second fewest votes in her council seat bid.

The step forward in democracy was followed by Gold standing up and announcing he was "throwing mud into the ice cream cone."

"Even in a democracy you get directives. Sometimes you call it quotas," Gold said using a word with no Arabic equivalent. "We were throwing out gentle hints about a woman being on the council, we were hoping one would be voted in. We will create an additional seat (a fourth seat) on the council for a woman. Whether you agree or disagree with this directive, you will have to do it."

Four days later, a dozen women attended a meeting of the representatives and Sail was the top vote-getter among them, officially winning a seat on the council which met for the first time less than a week later.

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