Stateline Iraqis Cast Their Vote in Historic Election

By: Brad Broders
By: Brad Broders

With this simple purple stamp, these Iraqis marked their new beginning.

"This is the first track to build Iraq. It has freedom. It has a future. It has democratic (qualities). It has the people we trust," Hassan Al-Taeey said.

For these two dozen Iraqis from Freeport, the trek to Chicago for Iraq's election symbolized more than a vote. It also re-energized a fresh hope for their homeland.

"I hope we get to where we have the right to do everything, like the United States. Choose our leaders on our own, see our president, a good president, who rules good, and cares about his people's opinions," Sora Almansuri said.

With the short walk down this election line in Chicago, these Iraqis are making the short walk to freedom, ending decades of brutality under Saddam Hussein, and placing their personal stake in democracy.

"Iraq to me is just born, like a little baby, so it'll take a little while, take a little while, but not magic. Take one day or two, but its going to be 100,000 times better than Saddam Hussein," Khadhim Al-Inezi said.

The Iraqis chant, "Saddam is gone, and we are not afraid," comparing their day of democracy to the day of matrimony.

"This is like our wedding. Today we are all excited, so happy, all the Iraqi come here to vote. This is the first step, not the last," Samir Al-Jurehi said.

And while Iraqis admit their country's redesigned government will take time, these citizens still realize they took part in their first democratic election, a gift no one can ever take away from them.

"Maybe somebody thinks he's powerful and he's stronger, but there is God, and he's stronger and more powerful than anybody, so no matter what Saddam Hussein did to the Iraqi people, we win," Al-Taeey said.

An American-led victory, a free Iraqi election, a new future.

Many Freeport Iraqis admitted they had trouble sleeping. The group carpooled from Freeport at around 10 a.m. and cast their vote around one p.m. Sunday afternoon.


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