The Afghan elections went on without major mishap Saturday with millions of people standing in lines for hours to do something they’ve never before been allowed to do: vote for the candidate of their choice.
Yet, some folks can’t seem to refrain from raining on the parade.
But a sudden move to boycott the polls by all the candidates opposed to President Karzai has threatened to cast its shadow over what has clearly been a remarkable process.
It followed fairly widespread complaints of voting irregularities – specifically that the indelible ink used to mark voters’ fingers and prevent them from casting their vote again could easily be washed off.
Hmm..those warlords who just a year ago couldn’t agree on anything managed to, in just a few hours, come together and oppose the election.
Yep, the UN managed to screw up yet again. But hang on. Let’s look at something I bet you no news report has noted. Well, first, let’s look at how “widespread” the complaints seemed to be.
Despite the controversy, reports from the ground by BBC correspondents spread across Afghanistan suggest that the issue has had little impact among voters.
Many Afghans are keen that the international community appreciate just what a historic day it has been for this country.
“It is amazing, as an Afghan, to see the turnout, see how many people have come out to cast their votes – especially as it was an exercise that was new to them,” says Shoaib Sharifi, a senior Afghan journalist.
It’s a view that many voters concurred with.
“This is a country that has suffered greatly over the years,” said Abdul Mateen, a Pashtun taxi driver, after casting his vote in the city’s diplomatic district.
“To be able to cast my vote and participate in the future of my country – this is a dream to be cherished.”
Across Kabul, in the Tajik-dominated Karte Parwan district many felt the opposition had done the right thing by boycotting the polls.
But restaurant manager Mohammad Daud, a Panjshiri Tajik, felt the time had come to move on.
“It is time we started thinking as Afghans and do what’s best for the country.
“We should stop thinking and acting along ethnic lines. What has happened today is remarkable.”
So maybe when the BBC said “widespread” they really meant “the folks running against the incumbent” because it sure looks like Afghan voters are pretty darned happy and that they could care less about pots of ink. That’s not “widespread complaints”. That’s just bad and/or biased reporting.
Now, let’s look at that thing that’s not really mentioned here.
The people who are boycotting the polls are, for the most part, former warlords who want Karzai’s job. You know, just a year ago, they would have saddled up, grabbed a few hundred or thousand loyal supporters, and started shooting. There would have been bloodshed and destruction.
Now, they protest with a petition and a boycott.
If that’s not progress, I surely don’t know the meaning of the word.
UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit Readers! My initial post on the Afghan elections is right here. Feel free to look around my site, comment freely, and come back often.
Category: Our Foreign Policy