Incoming shoes! Shock and awe! Or watch the lame duck duck like a coward. “Insulting a Foreign Leader” are charges proclaimed world hero Iraqi journalist Muntadar Al-Zeidi could face after he hurled both of his shoes at George Bush during a press conference and clandestine trip to Iraq by the outgoing US president. The journalist also shouted out the words, “This is your farewell kiss, you dog!”
After having been wrestled to the ground, he was interrogated as to whether anyone had paid him to throw his shoes at Bush. He was also being tested for alcohol and drugs, according an Iraqi official. The unmarried Shiite journalist, who is 28 years old, was being held at the headquarters of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The infamous shoes were being held as evidence.
Iraqi security officers and US secret service agents leapt at the man within seconds of the incident and dragged him struggling and screaming out of the room. Unfortunately, the shoes missed their target. One wishes that the journalist would have had a bit better throwing arm. A little more speed and power on the delivery, eh? One sailed over Bush's head as he stood next to Maliki and smacked into the wall behind him. Bush smiled foolishly and Maliki was trying not to look amused.
Al-Zeidi, who works for Al-Baghdadia television, had been kidnapped last year by Shiite militias and released after his TV station, according to colleagues, intervened. Al-Zeidi joined Al-Baghdadia television in September 2005 after graduating from Baghdad University with a degree in communications. Al-Baghdadia repeatedly aired pleas to release al-Zeidi, while showing footage of explosions and playing background music that denounced the US invasion and war crimes in Iraq.
Al-Zeidi's three brothers and one sister gathered in his simple, one-bedroom apartment in west Baghdad . The apartment has a poster of the infamous revolutionary Latin American leader Che Guevara. "I swear to Allah, he is a hero," said his sister, Umm Firas (mother of Firas, her oldest son). "May Allah protect him." Several thousand people demonstrated in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities to demand al-Zeidi's release. The incident has been widely shown on television screens worldwide. The daughter of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi bestowed a medal of courage on al-Zeidi, calling upon the Iraqi government to free him.
"It doesn't bother me," Bush said, urging everyone to calm down during the ruckus in the conference room. When asked about the incident, Bush attempted to make light of it. "I didn't feel the least threatened by it," he said, adding: "Whoever it interests - it was a size ten that he threw at me."
In Arab culture being attacked with shoes is a sign of the most profound disrespect. That Bush seemed clueless as to the message he was being given must surely further enrage people against him unless they take into consideration that this is nothing new for the mentally challenged despot. That he just “doesn’t get it” is an oft repeated observation of Mr. Bush.
This was, perhaps, a final crowning, shining moment demonstrating the sort of farewell all citizens of the world would like to give Bush and remember him by. He will surely be remembered with the sort of contempt that all murderous, evil despots of history are remembered. He will have to constantly look over his shoulder, waiting for his just desserts to catch up with him. Who would want to be in his “shoes”???
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