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Sun Jul 8, 2012, 06:12 AM

Juan Cole: Top Ten Surprises on Libya’s Election Day

Top Ten Surprises on Libya's Election Day
Most Western reporting on Libya is colored by what is in my view a combination of extreme pessimism and sensationalism. It has been suggested that because most reporters don’t stay there for that long, many don’t have a sense of proportion. It is frustrating to have faction-fighting in distant Kufra in the far south color our image of the whole country. Tripoli, a major city of over 2.2 million (think Houston), is not like little distant Kufra, population 60,000 (think Broken Arrow, OK)!

In the run-up to the elections held on Saturday, a lot of the headlines read ‘Libya votes, on the brink’ or had ‘Chaos’ in the title. But actually, as the Libya Herald reports, the election went very, very well (which did not surprise me after my visit to three major cities there in May-June). The NYT post-election headline of ‘Libyans risk violence to vote’ is frankly ridiculous; in most of the country that simply was not true, though it was true in parts of Benghazi. Even then, how many people died in violence in this election? I count two, but in any case it is a small number. In Tripoli, the election was described as a big family wedding, with lots of loud celebration and tears of joy. Here are the top ten surprises of the election for Libya watchers:

1. Turnout was about 60%, with 1.6 million casting their ballots. This high turnout is especially impressive given how confusing the election procedures were, with 3,000 candidates and only 80 seats out of 200 set aside for political parties (most new formed and not well known).

....

9. Women registered to vote, ran for office, and went to the polling stations in surprisingly high numbers. In some small cities, eyewitnesses thought the women’s lines were much longer than those of the men.

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Much more at link. Libya elects liberals, Egypt and Tunisia elect islamists. All this time we were told that the islamists were taking over Libya. Guess what, those who misinform, mislead, and overall slander the Libyan people?

You were wrong.

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Reply Juan Cole: Top Ten Surprises on Libya’s Election Day (Original post)
joshcryer Jul 2012 OP
al bupp Jul 2012 #1
joshcryer Jul 2012 #2

Response to joshcryer (Original post)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 10:28 AM

1. Juan Cole puts it into perspective, doesn't he?

Here's the link, also a good read, from JC's point #4, to Luke Harding's Guardian piece on Bani Walid

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Response to al bupp (Reply #1)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 06:39 PM

2. Yeah, pretty much. I think that was the point. I think islamaphobia...

...has slandered the entire freaking Arab Spring and I think a lot of progressives have been duped by the MSM's racist islamaphobia / xenophobia.

As far as Libya is concerned it's going way better than anyone could've imagined.

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