In exactly one week, next Sunday, there will be legislative elections in Iraq. The enthusiasm is moderate, although many Iraqis say they yearn for change, better municipal services and a country free from corruption and armed militias.
In Baghdad, the Iraqi protest movement celebrates its second anniversary.
Enthusiastic discussion choirs on change echo the Arab Spring. Many protesters I speak to have said they plan to boycott the elections within a week.
Hilin says the system is corrupt and his voice doesn’t matter because the hold of militias, parties and Iran over Iraq is stronger than the will of the people:
His friend Mulhem does not agree.
– The election is our only chance to change and there are candidates who represent the democratic movement, we must vote for them.
One of the leaders of the so-called October Revolution, Ali Al Khayal, 29, asks:
– Why does the whole world accept that Iraq allows parties which have a military branch to stand for parliamentary elections? Would a country in Europe allow it?
Ali Al Khayal is among those who believe that the United States destroyed Iraq and then delivered the country on a silver platter to Iran. It is the Iranian loyalists who control the country along with the corrupt politicians.
Ali wears a black t-shirt that says: I’m sick of always being afraid, this endless stream of horror.
He also has several close friends who were killed during the protests. He looks at us and bursts into a long litany of why.
– Why don’t we have water and electricity, why don’t we have proper municipal transport, why all Iraqi authorities have to bribe, why, why, why? We just want to live.
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