Kirkuk, Party Town of N. Iraq
Ok, first I must apologize for the lack of posting lately. My internet connection had to be shut down for a few days. Unfortunately, someone in my brigade was injured, and all stateside communication is cut off until their family can be notified. This is to alleviate families from finding out their loved one has been hurt through the rumor mill. Ok, enough about that.
Wow, this place was CRAZY on Wednesday. I mean Kirkuk was a serious party spot. The annunciation of Jalil Talibani as Interim President of Iraq was VERY well recieved here. Kirkuk is a predominately ethnic Kurdish city, in a predominately Kurdish region of the country. So, when the populace here, which was persecuted and genocided by Saddam, finally saw that they had a Kurd in a powerful position in the New Iraqi Government, they went BONZOS!!!!! In a good way, except for all the airborne lead. It is tradition here to shoot into the sky in celebration. Well, to say the least, there were LOTS of celebratory fire. LOTS! I mean there were tracers racing skyward every way you turned. People were speeding throughout the city, honking their car horns, flashing their lights, and streaming Kurdish flags out the window. My favorite one I saw was a little Toyota 1/4 ton pickup with (and I am not making this up) 14 people in the back, cheering, singing, and yelling, and they had an 8x10 Kurdish flag on a big pole, and they were racing around the city.
We all saw the photos in the news after the elections, of the people who had the ink-stained index finger as a sign of them voting. You know, kinda like the little American flags that say "I Voted" on them. That was a momentus day. Democracy's seed was planted that day. On Wednesday, the first leaves pushed through the hard Iraqi soil and opened, showing that, indeed, democracy has put down roots and is well on its way to flourishing.
I wrote earlier about heroes and patriots. In that post, I talked about how Iraq would only survive if ethnic and religious differences were set aside. Look at the composition on the leadership of the interim government. There is a Shiite Prime Minister. There is a Kurdish president. I am not sure on this one, but I believe the VP is Sunni.
So the Left and the MSM claim President Bush lied. That is not of issue. What is at issue is this: Democracy has found fertile ground in Iraq. People are seeing that acceptance and willingness to work with people of different ethnicities and religious beliefs is a good way to go about governing a country. I tell you what... the folks around here are happy. I like it when the people I pass on the street while on patrol are happy. Less high-speed pointy stuff.