Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 44, Tuesday November 11, 2008



By Iffat Nawaz
Under A Different Sky

Yes we did

November 3, 2008
Home, Washington DC

Midnight is still a few hours away; it feels like the clocks have stopped. The weather outside is comfortably cool yet the air seems still. We are breathing, ever-so-slowly, November 4 is taking its own sweet time to arrive. The restlessness is contagious, it's making people say and do things I thought I would never hear.

To make things unbearably heavier Barack Obama's grandmother Madeyln Dunham passed away a couple of hours ago. I feel the taste of iron in my mouth. I have got no patience left, I want to breathe, seriously…breathe normally.

Everyone living in the United States has just one more night to bear. And after 21 months of this it seriously feels like the longest campaign in the history of the world. I don't even remember all the details from the beginning of 2007.

All I know is how can anyone be undecided still? Out of 20 people I spoke to today 6 were undecided, 11 knew who they were going to vote for, one already voted early and two didn't think it matters at all if they voted or not. Just like last time, when George Bush won, when people apparently thought it wouldn't matter if they voted…and now we have paid with eight years of misery, bloodshed, embarrassment and financial deficit.

All I know is, I will be there tomorrow, early morning, standing in line, no matter how long that line will be, I will make sure that I vote.

November 4, 2008
1:00 pm Georgetown, Washington DC

I am staring out at the cloudy gray sky and Potomac River from my work window. It's quiet here today; my colleagues are in their respective voting stations making their rights count. The ones who are here are wearing “I voted” stickers on their shirts, just like me. I was one of the lucky ones, there was barely any lines at the voting station I went to, I connected the arrows next to my choice of candidates and left feeling restless still. America still has a good few hours to go. Some of the lines to vote were two to three hours long around the United States, yet people waited with great patience to make sure their votes counted.

7:30 p.m. Election Watch, Washington DC
We are gathered at a friend's place. About 10 of us, hot pizzas devoured fast, 10 sets of eyes locked on the television screen. The election results are slowly trickling in as polls close around the United States. The last couple of hours are electrifying; we don't know how long we have to wait to see if the man of our hearts wins. We are in the middle of Washington DC, right next to 14th and U Street where the masses have already started gathering. I fear there could be an immediate countrywide depression if McCain wins, even a riot. People of all ages out in the streets are walking around chanting in rallies, faces full of passion, eyes full of dreams. The possibility of Barack Obama's win is becoming more and more apparent.

11:00 p.m. Election Watch, Washington, DC
We are watching “Indecision 2008” and Jon Stewart calls Obama the President of America, we jump up, we turn the channel to CNN, and they also announce the breaking news. We hear and see the crowd outside our window running through the streets with tears running down their faces and carrying huge smiles simultaneously. We scream back, we join them on the street…we chant too…in my fifteen years of living in America I have never felt this amazing energy… actually I should say, in my 30 years of living I have never felt this amazing energy… we hold each other, we hug one another…democracy exists…we had forgotten.

12:00 a.m. Obama makes his acceptance speech
We wait; we see the man, and his family walking towards us on the television screen. We hear him speak. His passionate yet serious, calm yet exhilarating, warm yet resilient speech makes us believe strongly that the nation made the right choice.

12:30 a.m. Washington DC Streets
Streets full of people, dancing on rooftops, on bus stands, street corners, people losing their voices from screaming, after eight dark years the nation turns towards hope… Obama's hope is contagious and because of him now we all have the audacity to hope…for a better America, for a better world! I close my eyes, I fall and I feel totally and completely safe for the first time since what seems like forever…And I see a great ball of fear lifting up from around us and disappearing into the nothingness of the night sky…we chant, yes we can…yes we did…



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