Susan Raymond. It says that her location is near Kirkuk. I think I know where is that precisely. But for security reasons BBC might not be giving the exact location.
Enjoy her post :
As a foreigner living and working in northern Iraq, I am able to observe
some of the election activity up close. Some of the time, since I'm so busy
with my work, you forget what a historic occasion it is. As far as safety
and security go, everyone is aware of the possibility of terrorist attacks.
But this area of the country has been very safe due to both the supportive
attitude of most Kurds and the experienced, active local security forces.
Most people in my city don't seem too worried, though the expats in my
organisation are going to take some extra security precautions. We have
heard that car traffic is going to be pretty much shut down on election day,
but rumours the mobile phone service will be suspended in order to prevent
bad guys from using it to plan attacks is probably just that - a rumour.
Even if it does go down, it won't make a huge difference, since half the
time the system is too busy to get calls through easily.
Lately the streets have had more of a party atmosphere, with cars going around bearing Kurdish flags or the flags of the political parties.
Trucks mounted with loudspeakers have been touring the neighbourhoods and
blaring election messages and songs. I joked with local friends that I had been
planning to vote for the one of the major parties, but since they caused a
traffic jam and delayed my journey, I changed my mind. (Of course, not being
Iraqi, I can't vote.) The local television station has also been full of ads and
programmes about the election.
I have heard that Iraqis in general have to travel to whatever town they are registered in, in order to vote. Some aren't willing or able to go to the trouble to do this. Some are cynical and think the two main opposing political parties in the north of Iraq will end up shooting each other again, like they did in the early to mid-1990s. But I think a lot of people in northern Iraq will vote, because they want to do what they can to ensure Kurdish rights and their semi-independence in Iraq's
future. As they say in Kurdish, they will "give their voice.
A mixture of Eve (Eid - Jezhn) and snow and elections has given the best partying time for some people in Kurdistan. I am sorry that those further south don't enjoy this.