In the absence of foreign monitors due to mounting violence, Iraqi writers, artists and other intellectuals have volunteered to oversee the referendum on the constitution scheduled for October 15.
The Independent Elections Commission, the body organizing ballots in Iraq, has responded positively to a call from Iraqi intellectuals to register as independent monitors.
“Thousands have already come forward and we expect the final figure to reach 40,000 monitors,” commission member Hussein Hindawi said.
Iraqi intellectuals have seven more days to come forward to register their names as independent monitors, Hindawi said.
The commission has formed 28 major groups with 14,000 members who intend to be present at the voting stations across the country.
The groups will be assisted by civil society organizations whose members advocate the establishment of a secular, multi-party and democratic system of government.
Hindawi said he sensed that the disparate Iraqi ethnic, religious and political groups are happy to have the intellectuals supervise the referendum.
“The initiative shows the high esteem the society holds this sublime and high-standing sector of the community,” said Hindawi.
Wow! Imagine a country where the intellectuals are not only held in high esteem, being characterized as a "sublime and high-standing sector of the community," but they are courageous enough to risk their lives to further the establishment of a democracy where once the people were in thrall to a tyrant.
Wait! Didn't that once describe US?
The piece Omar is quoting concludes:
[Hindawi] said the volunteering of this huge number of intellectuals despite security risk is proof “of how concerned and keen they are for the future of their country and people.”
The initiative was taken because it was increasingly difficult to have independent foreign monitors supervise the referendum.
Omar ends his comment with the remark: "Isn't that great?"
Yes, Omar, that is great indeed. Perhaps the day isn't far off where we here in the United States will be looking at "Iraq the Model," and the phrase will refer not only to your superb weblog.