Big news: Iraqi bloggers run for office!
: This is wonderful news: Two Iraqi bloggers — brothers Ali Fadhil and Mohammed Fadhil of IraqTheModel.com — announced today that they are running for the Iraqi National Assembly.
How’s that for democratizing? Two citizens who had no voice in their nation a little over a year ago came to blogging and now have a voice that matters — they are quoted often in many major papers — and are using that platform to gain a voice in their government.
Tom Villars has helped them set up a web site in English and Arabic — where you can go and contribute to their campaign. Here is their announcement:
Baghdad, IRAQ August 18th, 2004 — Two popular Iraqi webloggers, Ali Fadhil and Mohammed Fadhil, today announced their candidacies for the Iraqi National Assembly.
The bloggers, who are brothers, have been writing their popular weblog www.IraqTheModel.com since November of 2003. Their weblog has been quoted in major world media, including the BBC, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, National Review, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Bulletin, Dallas Morning, and New York Post.
We believe that we represent an important segment of the Iraqi people that was never organized before under any category as a result of the oppression of the past regime. Now this segment has come to see the necessity to contribute to the building of a new Iraq in a way that is entirely different from the old ways that are still dominant in the Middle East and that are governed by religious fanaticism and pan-Arab nationalism.
We see that remaining silent is not an option in our battle towards democracy and freedom and that everyone who seeks a better future should take part in this battle.
علي فاضل (Ali Fadhil)
Through our writings in our weblog and communication with different opinions and view points we find ourselves committed to reconsider the way in which we can serve our nation.
We also saw that our somewhat daring opinions were accepted by many people whether westerners or Iraqis and we see that we have the capability to clarify our vision about Iraq’s future through talking to Iraqis directly.
Our work on the weblog opened our minds more, made us bolder and encouraged us to communicate with our fellow citizens as they’re the ones who can make the change and they’re the ones we started to write for their sake.
محمد فاضل (Mohammed Fadhil)
The bloggers are running under the banner of the Iraqi Pro-Democracy Party. Elections will be held after December 2004. For the complete list of party candidates and more information on the party’s history and its platform, please visit our website www.iraqdemparty.org.
The brothers add on their blog:
For sometime we thought that we can help by doing our jobs and by posting our opinions here on the blog, and while we still think it does help, the battle against tyranny and fanaticism in our country demands more than that. It demands that each one of us put all the effort he/she can make and take an active stand regardless of how difficult or dangerous it may seem. We simply cannot just stand and watch and we hope that we will encourage others also to do their best in order to achieve our freedom and establish democracy in a country that suffered more than enough from wars, dictators, terrorists and fanatics.
We believe that democracy is the only cure to all those diseases and the only answers to all threats. As hard the battle seems now and as far victory may look, we believe in our people and we believe in our friends and we know we will win.
: One of the fuzziest cliches of American politics is that one person can make a difference. But look over to Iraq — and Iran — and you begin to believe that one person can make a difference. In Iran, Hoder was the Johnny Appleseed who brought blogging to his nation and it is changing the culture and the country. In Iraq, Zeyad got his friends Ali and Mohammed to blog and they got more friends to blog and now they are running for posts in a new government in a new nation. Scrape the scales of political and media cynicism from your eyes and see what these brave people are doing now that they have the chance to do it: They love freedom of speech and democracy so much they are risking even their lives to work for it.