Hoyer Lauds Iraqi People for Their Courage

Democratic Whip Calls Historic Election an Important Step on the Road to Democracy

For Immediate Release:

January 31, 2005

Contact:Stacey Farnen Bernards
(202) 225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding Sunday’s historic election in Iraq:

“The Iraqi people, after toiling under the boot of Saddam Hussein for decades and weathering a vicious terrorist insurgency over the last two years, must be lauded for their tremendous courage in turning out to vote in yesterday’s historic election.  We must hope that 50 years from now a future generation of Iraqis looks back at this event as a turning point in Iraq and the Middle East generally.

“In defying the threats of terrorists and thugs, the Iraqi people demonstrated the universal aspiration for self-determination, as well as their hope for a better future for themselves and their children.

“Sunday’s election, in which millions of Iraqis are reported to have cast ballots, is a stunning repudiation of those who despise freedom and democracy.  Having lived under the Hussein regime all these years, the Iraqi people know that the insurgents offer them nothing but further repression and violence.

“On Friday, I had the privilege of visiting the out-of-country voting station in New Carrollton (MD), and the experience of watching many of these Iraqis cast their votes freely for the very first time in their lives.  It was as moving as it was historic.  And it was a poignant reminder to all of us that our rights, while God-given, must never be taken for granted.

“Our men and women in uniform also must be commended for their gallantry in this cause.  It is undoubtedly true that absent their bravery and professionalism, this day would not have happened.

“None of us should delude ourselves about the difficult days ahead.  The truly difficult work that remains in establishing a viable, stable democracy that is capable of establishing and maintaining internal order in Iraq has just begun.”

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