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Iraqis show value of vote Precious rights seem larger when blood is shed to obtain and keep them

Often times, freedoms won the hard way are most treasured, an observation signified by local Iraqis who traveled hundreds of miles to cast absentee ballots in perhaps the most important election in the world.

Rezgar "David" Hussein of Amherst was among those who set out on a long journey so that his voice could be heard in his native land. He traveled 600 miles round trip between his home and the polls in suburban Detroit, one of six centers in this country for Iraqi voters. He saw the act as a small sacrifice if it meant his vote could help end the violence and bring stability to his native country. News reporter Jay Rey quoted him saying: "I don't care how far it is to vote. I'll go."

Hussein's passion reflects that of thousands of Iraqis. The election saw heavy Sunni turnout at the polls and overall turnout stronger than in most elections in Western nations, reaching 70 percent. Among those living in the United States, 240,000 Iraqi expatriates who were eligible to vote last week did so. Enviable numbers to those struggling to get people to the polls on many an American Election Day.

Perhaps, in many ways, the freedoms Americans now enjoy are so ingrained it becomes difficult to comprehend an undemocratic society. We persevere in a society free to vote our elected leaders out of office without fear of recrimination.

What this Iraqi election represents is significant following decades of tyranny. The White House has won a significant victory made manifest in thousands of ink-stained index fingers and miles traveled in distant America and other nations to cast an important vote.

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