Iraqi shoes thrown at Bush, cartoon

Cartoon on shoes thrown at Bush in Iraq, ©morland/the times

This is a cartoon on the shoes thrown at Bush in Iraq.

Iraqi government seeks criminal prosecution of anti-Bush protestor: here. See also here.

Sami Ramadani: The young journalist who took on Bush has become a unifying Iraqi symbol: here.

7 thoughts on “Iraqi shoes thrown at Bush, cartoon

  1. Editorial

    Philippine Daily Inquirer
    First Posted 00:26:00 12/17/2008

    For Muntader Al-Zeidi, the Iraqi expatriate journalist who threw his shoes at US President George W. Bush, it was meant to be the supreme insult. For the rest of the world, it reduced Bush from being the conquering hero into what most of the world truly thinks he is: a heel. The journalist who threw his shoes knew full well that among his people and in the Arab world, he was evoking the way Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad was pelted with shoes in ritual excoriation of the deposed dictator. By the same light and according to the same people, Bush is nothing more than a despot, too.

    By all accounts, Zeidi attended the press conference of Bush and the Iraqi premier, Nouri al-Maliki, intending to do his job, which was to report on it as the correspondent for Al-Baghdadia television, an Iraqi-owned station based in Cairo. According to Maythem al-Zeidi the journalist’s brother, “He [his brother]was provoked when Mr. Bush said this is his farewell gift to the Iraqi people.” The irate journalist took off his shoes and threw them at the American president, shrieking in Arabic, “This is a farewell kiss, you dog! This is from the widows, the orphans, and those who were killed in Iraq!”

    The journalist’s colleagues suggest that he didn’t lose his cool, but rather, dreamed of giving his culture’s supreme insult to Bush. What is beyond dispute is that after being wrestled to the ground and manhandled, Zeidi was whisked off to detention, where he remains, his fate unknown. Meanwhile, as the Internet marketing term goes, the shoe-throwing incident has gone viral, and what was meant to be an American propaganda coup has degenerated into Flash animation satire around the world.

    But there was more to the world lapping up the shoe-throwing incident instead of being bombarded with the media-managed sight of a lame-duck American president doing victory laps in Iraq. George W. Bush had a genuine tryst with destiny, a historic opportunity to channel global sympathy over the World Trade Center tragedy into a new partnership with the democratic world. Instead, he lurched into a campaign of imperial conquest and transformed the imperial presidency into a Nero or Caligula-like regime of hubris, obstinacy and incompetence.

    Domestically, going into office as a pragmatic dealmaker, he settled into it as an uncompromising ideologue, betraying a marked weakness for cronyism and an uncomprehending insistence on plutocratic values in the face of economic challenges for an essentially blue-collar country. British historian Simon Schama marks the mishandling of Hurricane “Katrina” and the misery of New Orleans as the point of no return for Bush, domestically, while the world, of course, marks Bush’s decision to invade Iraq as the point in which global sympathy for America turned into global hostility.

    But, of course, the Philippines has been out of lock-step with the world in this regard. Overall, this country remained one of the few places where Bush remained popular. Indeed, overall, it can be argued that aside from a few other places like Poland, the Philippines was one of the few places where Bush and his policies were viewed with an approbation Bush stopped enjoying long ago among his own people. Indeed, until a remarkable last-minute turnaround in public opinion took place, Filipinos seemed inclined to applaud a continuation of the Bush policies as incarnated in his party’s nominee, John McCain.

    We don’t necessarily agree with those who suggest that what Filipino public opinion did, when Barack Obama’s election to the White House began to look increasingly certain, was to opportunistically jump off the McCain campaign and belatedly join the Obama bandwagon. But as Bush rides off into the sunset a disgraced and despised, and ultimately, failed leader, it is worth pondering why our country, overall, has proven to be rock-solid in its affections for a leader everyone else in the world seems to hate.

    The colonial mentality seems unsatisfactory as an answer, for why would we feel the same as the Poles, who were never colonized by America? Rather it lies in something deeper, and it may be something that bodes ill for our own stability, particularly with regard to Mindanao. And it is: a Crusader mentality that lurks in our national heart, still.#


    Theres The Rub
    Shoe story

    By Conrado de Quiros
    Philippine Daily Inquirer
    First Posted 01:44:00 12/17/2008

    George W. Bush went on a surprise visit to Iraq to say goodbye. He got the surprise of his life.

    While holding a press conference with the Iraqi prime minister to announce plans for a withdrawal of US troops by 2011, an Iraqi journalist seated near the front row threw his shoes at him, shouting in Arabic, “Here’s your goodbye kiss, you dog!” The first one Bush ducked, while the second one sailed past him, but barely. The shoe-thrower was Muntadhar al-Zeidi, a 28-year-old TV reporter, who deeply resented the American occupation of his country and mourned the hundreds of thousands of deaths it had caused.

    Iraqi security wrestled him to the ground and dragged him to prison. For his deed, he got the ire of the authorities, who called him a barbarian. He stands to get two years of jail for insulting a foreign guest as well as Iraqi officialdom.

    But it is doubtful if the jail term can be carried out. Because, for his deed as well, he has become a hero to his people.

    His network has refused to apologize for his actions and demanded his immediate release, saying he was only living up to the democracy the Americans claim to have brought to Iraq. Demonstrations have broken out in various parts of Baghdad, the demonstrators throwing shoes as well at American convoys.

    “Al-Zeidi’s shoe is the most famous shoe in the whole world!” gushed Fawzi Akram, a legislator.

    Certainly, it has become a luminous symbol of protest for the entire Arab world. In Arab culture apparently, throwing shoes at someone is the highest form of insult.

    It is also from where we stand, who are not steeped in that culture, a most expensive one. I searched the Internet for stories about whether Al-Zeidi was wearing his usual everyday shoes or had made it a point to wear old and appropriately smelly ones, but could not find any. I don’t know that many of us will agree to part with our Hush Puppies or Doc Martens to express our disgust at our own overstaying ruler. But Al-Zeidi can at least look forward to a bright, and fairly comfortable, future. His shoes have now been elevated to the status of relics, and could fetch a fortune if sold. At least if he can still claim ownership of them.

    Indeed, if he can find it in his heart to separate America from Bush, he can look forward to a bright and profitable career as a pitcher in US Major League Baseball. His throws were not that bad, and almost found their mark. The footage shows he was aiming for Bush’s face and would have been most happy had his missiles landed there. Alas, Allah was most forgiving.

    Al Zeidi’s “goodbye kiss” has a couple of things to say to us.

    The first, and less obvious, is that journalists are human beings, too. From all accounts, Al-Zeidi has no relatives who died from the American invasion or the uprising it spawned. Indeed, from all accounts, he is resentful not just of America but of Iran, whose interventions in his country he fears as well. Nor is he fond of militants who abducted him last year and beat him up before releasing him. He is just someone who has seen, and having seen, felt the need to do something about what was wrong. He is just someone who has heard, and having heard, felt the need to give voice to what was right.

    A journalist is supposed to be objective, neutral, and dispassionate. None of that means he or she may not feel emotion. None of that means he or she may not be stoked to rage. None of that means he or she may not protest injustice and oppression.

    That is the reason I do not attend press conferences, least of all in Malacañang. I do not own too many shoes.

    The second, and more obvious, thing Al-Zeidi’s act of defiance has to say to us is, why in hell don’t we do something like that? As far as I know, over the last few years only a couple of Filipinos have done something akin to it, though their actions have not produced the electrifying or iconoclastic effect Al-Zeidi’s has done.

    One is Maria Theresa Pangilinan, who heckled Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo while she spoke at the graduation ceremonies of Cavite State University a couple of years ago. Pangilinan’s protest then has something very much to say to us now. She shouted, “No to Cha-cha!” [No to Charter change], aised a banner saying the same thing, and shouted the words a second time. She was allowed to graduate, but was berated by people who presumed to be her superiors but were in fact her inferiors. She remained unapologetic for the deed.

    Two is Mar Roxas, who shouted in last Friday’s rally, “P—ng ina! Patayin na ang Gloria Forever Cha-Cha na ito!” [SOB! Kill this Gloria Forever Charter change!] Like Pangilinan, Roxas was upbraided by Malacañang for lacking good manners and right conduct. But like Pangilinan, Roxas has remained unapologetic, saying that if Malacañang wants to see people who thoroughly lack good manners and right conduct, it should look at its occupants.

    I don’t know that any people more revere tradition and demand respect for elders and those in authority than the Arabs. But that they have risen as one to extol someone who has transgressed that in the name of all that is right and just and true, it speaks volumes about their capacity for wisdom, too. We can do no less. There are limits to politeness when you are being impolitely screwed. There are limits to gracefulness when you are being gracelessly strangled.

    Al-Zeidi sent his powerful message to someone who was leaving and who wanted only to revise history and be remembered for having done something good. Here, we have someone who refuses to go and wants only to revise the Charter and continue to wreak evil upon the world. It’s time we dropped the niceties. It’s time we collected our shoes, or the equivalent of them in our own culture (feel free to make your suggestions) and hurled them at the source of our hellish torments, while shouting:

    “Here’s your kick-out kiss, you dog!”


  2. Posted by: “frankofbos”

    Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:44 pm (PST)

    President-elect Bush explains why he likes to calls natural
    gas “hemispheric” on this date. His answer is a real head scratcher.
    Also on this date: an Army General worries that Bush policies will
    break the Reserves, our dear leader OKs breaking the law so he can read
    your postal mail, and Americans pick their “villain of the year”.

    Today’s category: Bushisms, Constitutional Abuse, Failing the Troops


  3. I would say that this is the biggest event of the century.
    The Iraqi scribe is the hero of the century.
    It is the toughest slap on the face of all the Americans who think, act and fool like George W Bush. And there is a lesson here, to Obama too!

    Lastly, look here the contrast between the two persons involved here.
    The man perceived to be the most powerful man in the earth proves to be the most coward. He doesn’t take it head on. He didn’t have the courage to take it in his stride. He ducks like a coward to save himself. Look at his eyes. There is shock and awe!!!
    In contrast, look at the other man. He is the REAL MAN. He had manhood with him intact. He is the hero. He is the brave man. He knew the consequences of the action. He plunged in it with everything he had. He used a pair of worn out shoes to make the powerful man on earth duck and jump.
    All praise to God.


  4. Pingback: Iraqi shoe-thrower’s sculpture removed | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Iraqi shoe-thrower wants to flee to Switzerland | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Afghans support Iraqi shoe-thrower | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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