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Iraqis make progress as a free nation as soccer celebrations kill at least 2, injure 50

While the effort by the United States and Britain to install democracy in Iraq has been, to put it delicately, full of difficulties, both nations can be proud of one aspect of freedom that has been successfully passed along: the freedom to have a good old violent celebration of a sporting event.

Following Iraq’s 2-0 Asian Cup quarterfinals victory over Vietnam, thousands of jubilant Iraqis took to the streets to celebrate the soccer team’s success.

Families spent precious gasoline cruising up and down the main street in the central neighborhood of Karrada. Taxi drivers honked their horns and blasted patriotic music. Children, typically shut indoors for their protection, whooped and jumped in the middle of intersections. Iraqi women trilled from balconies, while throngs of ecstatic young men peeled off their shirts and waved them in the air.

It’s great to see Iraqis of all backgrounds coming together to cheer about something positive about their country and forgetting their troubles for at least a day. Unfortunately, they also took their guns with them during the celebrations.

Sporadic bursts of celebratory gunfire sounded even before the game had ended, and erupted into a full-scale symphony once the clock had run out.

The rat-a-tat-tat of machine guns was drowned out by the thundering booms of larger weapons. Iraqi authorities said at least two people were killed and 50 injured by stray bullets.

Ah, they grow up so fast. Soon they’ll be burning and overturning cars and fighting police in the name of sports, rather than war, just like American and British fans.

Source: (Seattle Times)

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