Alex Cabrero ReportingIn less than two weeks, Iraq will have its first election in decades. It is a historical vote, and one Iraqi's here in Salt Lake City don't want to miss. Iraqi-born Americans are allowed to vote, and Alex Cabrero spoke to one man who says he'll do it, no matter what.
As a cab driver, Ayid Albarkawi is used to giving rides. If you normally take a cab, you might've seen him. But don't expect to see him this Friday, he'll be taking a ride of his own.
Ayid Albarkawi, Iraqi-born American: “This is very far, like 12-14 hours to drive from here to California.”
Los Angeles, to be exact. It's only one of five US cities where Iraqi-born Americans can register to vote in Iraq's elections, and the closest spot for Albarkawi.
Ayid Albarkawi: “If we don’t have a car, we have time, we’ll walk there. We walk there to vote, you know?”
You can tell right away, freedom is something he'll never take for granted.
Ayid Albarkawi: “This make [means] a lot for us. This is our future. Kids’ future too.”
Many Iraqi's still in Iraq feel the same way, only for them, fear may keep them from voting.
Ayid Albarkawi: “Very scary. Some terrorists want to destroy the elections. They want to destroy the new Iraq.”
But Albarkawi also thinks a new Iraq is inevitable, it will happen. He's lived in Salt Lake for ten years now, seen freedom, democracy, and human rights. Eventually, he thinks, Iraq will be the same way.
Ayid Albarkawi: “This is a first step, but we’re not disappointed. We know a lot of crap going on over there, and a lot of problems over there. But we have to do something. This is the first step we’ll do right now.”
About 90,000 Iraqi-born citizens live in the United States. They can register to vote from the 28th to the 30th. The vote takes place on the 30th.