The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush “has expressed the feelings and ambitions of the Iraqi people toward the symbol of tyranny”

MR. ZAIDI AT THE MOMENT THAT HE PITCHED HIS SHOE AT MR. BUSH
MR. ZAIDI AT THE MOMENT THAT HE PITCHED HIS SHOE AT MR. BUSH

The “Shoe Man” (aka the”Baghdad Clogger”) has become a hero for Iraqis.

The shoe man is Muntazer al-Zaidi, a 28-year-old journalist who took off his shoes at a press conference in Baghdad and threw them at President George W. Bush, who was speaking at a podium.  (The journalist was also identified as Muntadar Al-Zeidi.)

“This is a gift from the Iraqis, this is the farewell kiss, you dog!,” Mr. Zaidi shouted in Arabic as he threw the first shoe.   And as he threw the second shoe, he shouted: “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq!” 

Mr. Zaidi was at the press conference being given by Mr. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on December 14, 2008.  He was covering the  event for Al-Baghdadia, an independent news agency based in Cairo, Egypt.  His brother, Durgham al-Zaidi, said he was jailed in a secure area of the Green Zone in Baghdad.

“He has a broken arm and ribs and cuts to his eye and arm,” the brother was quoted as saying  in a report by Oliver August of London’s Times Online.  “He is being held under forces under the command of Muwafaq al-Rubaie.”  (Rubaie is Iraq’s national security advisor.)

“Thousands of Iraqis, both Sunni and Shia, took part in a second day of street protests [on December 16, 2008] demanding Mr. Zaidi’s release and hailing him a national hero,” Mr. August wrote.  “In Mosul . . . an estimated 1000 protested carried banners and chanted slogans in support.  Several hundred more protested in Nasiniyah, a Shia city . . . and in Fallujah, a Sunni area . . . .”

Nassar Afrawi, a  protester in  Nasiriyah, said: “Muntadhar al-Zaidi has expressed the feelings and ambitions of the Iraqi people toward the symbol of tyranny.”

After Mr. Zaidi threw the shoes, he was immediately man-handled and taken into custody.

“Security guards . . . surrounded Zaidi, took him outside and beat him,” wrote Eric Ruder in the December 17, 2008 edition of  the Socialist Worker.  “His screams were audible in the room where Bush, Maliki and the rest of the journalist remained.”

Judge Dhai al-Kinani, who is investigating the occurrence, gave a statement to the Associated Press in which he said that Mr. Zaidi “was beaten in the news conference and we will watch the tape and write an official letter asking for the names of those who assaulted him.”

Judge Kinami said the investigation would be completed and sent to the criminal court within seven to 10 days.

“Images of Bush ducking the fast-flying shoes . . . aired repeatedly on Arab satellite TV networks were cathartic for many in the Middle East, who have for years felt that their own leaders kowtow to the American president,” wrote Robert H. Reid of the Associated Press.  “So the sight of an average Arab standing up and making a public show of resentment was stunning.”

The article by Mr. Reid added:

The pride, joy and bitterness it uncorked showed how many Arabs place their anger on Bush personally for what they see as a litany of crimes — chief among them the turmoil in Iraq and tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths since the 2003 invasion.

“I swear to Allah, he is a hero,” said Mr. Zaidi’s sister, who is nicknamed Umm Firas.  “May Allah protect him.”

Some of the words of Mr. Bush’s speech just before the shoes were thrown were reported by Matthew Rothschild in The Progressive:

Seconds beforehand, Bush had bragged about the Iraq War approaching “a successful end” and being “decisively on its way to being won.”  He even reheated some of the boilerplate about Iraq being “a force for freedom and a force for peace in the heart of the Middle East, a country that will serve as a source for stability in a volatile region.”

Mr. Zaidi’s brother, Maythem al-Zaidi, said that his brother “was provoked when Mr. Bush said [during the news conference] this is a farewell gift to the Iraqi people,” said a report in The New York Times.

Remi Kanazi, a Palestinian-American poet living in New York, wrote in an article that appeared in Dissident Voice:

It doesn’t take someone with an IQ higher than the president to deduce why Iraqis are so pissed off: our government is responsible for the deaths of a million Iraqis, the country lacks proper access to electricity, and nearly five million people have been made refugees.  Compound this with Bush cramming US victory chants down the throats of  Iraqis, and one can understand the journalist’s tame gesture.

An opinion article by Hamera Tahir that appeared in London’s Guardian discussed the symbolism of the shoes being thrown at the United States president:

Is it any wonder that George Bush had shoes thrown at him as a symbol of utter contempt?  The US has trampled on its own ideals with its illegal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; it has torn to shreds its notions of democracy and justice for all with its illegal prisons in Abu Ghraid and Guantanamo, and by rendition.   As if that wasn’t enough, the breathtaking greed and fraud of its Wall Street traders has brought the entire world to its knees.  Every economy has suffered the negative effects of the “greatest country in the world.”

A 54-second video with two different angles of Mr. Zaidi throwing his shoes at Mr. Bush is found at: http://video.google.com/videosearch?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GZAZ_enUS281US281&q=bush%20shoe&um=1&sa=N&tab=wv#

Meanwhile, White House press secretary Dana Perino said: “The president harbors no hard feelings over the incident. . . . Obviously, [Mr. Zairi] was very angry.”

Outside the White House, a group of anti-war protesters held a shoe protest on December 17, 2008.  “The demonstrators threw shoes at a man wearing a President Bush face mask and wearing a jail uniform,” said a report on the website of Democracy Now.

Photo Credit:

AP Photo

AN IRAQI JOURNALIST THROWS A SHOE AT PRESIDENT BUSH DURING A PRESS CONFERENCE IN IRAQ ON MR. BUSH'S FAREWELL VISIT TO THE COUNTRY THAT HE CASUED TO BE INVADED AND OCCUPIED

AN IRAQI JOURNALIST THROWS A SHOE AT PRESIDENT BUSH DURING A PRESS CONFERENCE IN IRAQ ON MR. BUSH'S FAREWELL VISIT TO THE COUNTRY THAT HE CASUED TO BE INVADED AND OCCUPIED

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: