Bleary-eyed I force myself awake, it’s the 6th of the month and I need to vote. I stumble past the TV that is blaring out with an indistinguishable figure warning of civil unrest from a hung political process. My friend texts me that he’s voting in the Greens – Green what? voting in the Green Zone?
I struggle against stupor as I swipe my keys and drive towards the polling station. It’s hot and everything I do feels slow and lethargic as the radio covers issues of vote-rigging and fraud in the capital.
The voting officials don’t seem to care much for my Iraqi passport as I am handed a voting form by a pasty-faced middle-aged woman. I struggle to make sense of the form – which list? which candidate number was I supposed to remember? Placing a malformed X in a box, I slip the form into a real box and ask about the finger ink. They stare back, blank-faced. Things start to turn ugly as I demand my right to a purple finger. Luckily I realise that I’m in a primary school and soon find a child’s paint pot to plunge my finger into.
I scream with delight as I run towards the exit, spraying yellow acrylic across the astonished onlookers. But my gait is heavy and I soon find myself face to belly with Fat Tory. Fat Tory! what’s he doing here? He has certainly gained weight and we engage in a civil discussion of how to evict the Tories from Baghdad.
Safe at home, the TV shows that the incumbent leader (always a little glum) has come second in the vote. There is a slight smile though as he knows the winner (wanting to heal a fractured society) will soon have problems forming a governing coalition. The autonomous North haven’t made significant gains and are not to be the king-makers, it’s up to the third party with its half-baked policies and curious populism…
I doze off, my somnolence has finally caught up with me.
Bleary-eyed I force myself awake, it’s the 6th of the month and I need to vote…