Voting in Iraq: an act of faith

Iraq, March 16, 2010

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Mohammed Abdul Ameer/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Kardo, a member of Mercy Corps' Global Citizen Corps, shows his ink-stained finger from voting in Iraq's recent elections. Photo: Mohammed Abdul Ameer/Mercy Corps

The biggest issue that regularly confounds me each time I vote here in Seattle is finding a postage stamp. Despite this, I have become a strong believer in the mail-in ballot, mostly because I don't have to haul myself to the polls at seven o'clock in the morning before I head off to work.

But, as I learned this week, voting in Iraq presents other challenges. I was talking yesterday on video Skype with my colleague Mohammed, a Mercy Corps staffer for the Global Citizen Corps program, about the recent Iraqi elections and wondering how it had gone.

"Oh, it's gone quite well, very safe, only a few very small bombs went off," he told me.

Now I don't know about you, but I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea of safe "small bombs." More than 100 people were killed in these latest elections in Iraq. So to me, it is a pretty big act of faith to march down to the polls there, dip your finger in ink and make your views known through the power of the ballot box.

But many, like Mercy Corps' Global Citizen Corps member Kardo (pictured here) did. This desire we have to vote, to help shape the way we are governed — well, it is very strong, it seems. And while I would hope I would do the same if I were in Kardo's shoes, I doubt I will ever get to the point of thinking of any bomb as "small."