Provincial elections are on Saturday and candidates are dropping. Today three were killed. One in Mosul, another in Baghdad and one in Diyala province.
It's almost expected here. Two others were killed recently as well.
In the United States this would be big news. Here it's a line in the violence report of the day. Better then other days, a huge improvement over the frightening times of more than a year ago but yet still more bloodshed.
Among those who did vote, the experience was sometimes inspiring and sometimes not:
"A long time ago we only dreamed to have something like this in our country. Not long ago we were deprived of a voice." -- Nawal Salam, 48. She and her family were displaced to the Shiite district of Kadhemiyah in Baghdad. Her brother was killed during the sectarian war. She voted for Maliki's party.
"I voted for the Fraternity of Nineveh (Kurdish slate) because it represents my race and we hope it would help us get our rights as Kurds. We want to live in peace like others." -- Leila Solaiman Mohammed, 45, a Kurdish housewife in Sheikhan a village in the northern fields of Nineveh province
"We came to the center with enthusiasm, but we didn't vote. We couldn't find our names. This is the third center we've gone to – and don't find our names. I don't want to lose my voice. I'm afraid that if I don't vote, my form will be used for me to vote for God knows whom." -- Umm Atheer, a Sunni Arab mother of two in Baghdad
In a random sample of The New York Times's ... staff in Baghdad: 40 percent voted, 30 percent could not reach the right polling station; 14 percent could not find their names on the lists; 10 percent of them did not try to vote; 6 percent of them were uncontactable.
Qassim H.J. - NYT cartoonist in Baghdad. VOTED, WITH NO DIFFICULTY. HALF HIS FAMILY VOTED. I had no problem voting. I didn't think I would find many people in my neighborhood taking part because it has been a very troubled one, with much violence. But many people turned out, and I saw no problems.
Suadad al-Salhy – South of Baghdad. FAMILY ALL VOTED, WITHOUT INCIDENT I did not vote because I have not found anyone who represents me. My husband feels the same. My parents, brother and sister-in-law all voted, although they had to walk more than two miles to the polling center. It was the first one they went to, so they were lucky.
An Iraqi employee of The New York Times in Najaf. VOTED, WITH DIFFICULTY After sunrise on Saturday I went on a tour in the main streets on Najaf, as part of my duties as a stringer for The New York Times newspaper. The security forces were all over the place, which gave a sense of security and safety. However, all did not go well. I had to go to more than three centers looking for my name and my wife's name. Finally I found them in a voting center two and a half miles away from where I live. Apparently, we were registered according to what our ration card said in 2005, which was that I lived with my family. Except that I transferred my ration card to another area a year and a half ago.
Riyadh Mohammed - Central Baghdad - DISPLACED. DID NOT REGISTER. I didn't register in advance, so I could not vote. The rest of my family were displaced from west Baghdad because of sectarian violence in 2006 and it would have been very complicated for them as displaced Iraqis to vote. None of them registered and none of them voted. They were all excited about election day, but it was too late.
My musings on current events, current projects, current anxieties and current delights.
I started this under the Bush regime when any grain of sand thrown into the gears of the over-reaching imperial state seemed worthwhile.
I have worked to elect more and better Democrats -- and to hammer the shit out of them once we get them in office so they do the things their constituents want and need. It's a big job.
It's mighty uncomfortable, getting by in a declining empire where elites maintain their power by massaging our mean streaks and mobilizing our resentments. This country and this "civilization" may be on their way out, but there's nothing else to do except try to make them as humane as possible along the way. That and to celebrate the extraordinary love that sometimes accompanies our species' bumbling way.
And the end hasn't come til it comes, ever.
Visitors will find a lot of commentary on books I'm reading here. I am very intentionally reading more offline these days because when it feels hard to find direction, it's time to learn something new.
I'm a progressive political activist who runs trails and climbs mountains whenever any are available. I've had the privilege to work for justice in Central America (Nicaragua and El Salvador), in South Africa, in the fields of California with the United Farmworkers Union, and in the cities and schools of my own country. I'm a Christian of the Episcopalian flavor; we think and argue a lot. For work, I've done a bit of it all: run an old fashioned switch-board; remodeled buildings and poured concrete; edited and published periodicals, reports and books; and organized for electoral campaigns. I am currently an independent consultant to organizations seeking "help when you have to make a fight."