Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The JOY of democracy

SHIBERGHAN, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of people gathered in a northern Afghan town on Tuesday to hear General Abdul Rashid Dostum launch his bid for the presidency, as a slow election campaign began to gather pace.

Crammed into a sports stadium in Shiberghan, Dostum's bastion, the crowd was largely from the minority ethnic Uzbek clan to which the former Communist commander belongs.

"Afghanistan is going through one of its difficult stages," the burly, mustachioed candidate told the crowd, 12 days ahead of Afghanistan's first direct presidential vote.

"You need to know who you want to vote for," he added, as thousands of supporters clapped in bright morning sunshine.

I won't comment on the candidate but man, this is good news. To those who say democracy can't take root in that part of the world, tell it to these people. They want and hunger for it. Maybe if you actually took the time to LISTEN to what these folks are saying instead of running your mouths about what they can't do, it would make it easier.