Humming Coming at Ya

16 12 2008

From Haaretz:

Shoes hold a special place in the Arab lexicon of insults as a show of contempt – effectively saying, you’re lower than the dirt on my shoes. Even sitting with the sole of a shoe pointed at another person is seen as disrespectful.

The hurling of shoes at Bush on his last visit to Iraq as president made an ironic bookend to one of the first images after the 2003 U.S. invasion, when Iraqi opponents of deposed leader Saddam Hussein toppled one of his statues in Baghdad and hit it with their shoes.

Al-Zaidi attained instant hero status around the Arab world. At one Baghdad elementary school, a geography teacher asked her students if they had seen the footage of the shoe-throwing, then told them, All Iraqis should be proud of this Iraqi brave man, Muntadhar. History will remember him forever.

In Baghdad’s Shiite slum of Sadr City, thousands of supporters of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr burned American flags to protest against Bush and called for the release of al-Zaidi, a 28-year-old Shiite who works for the private Iraqi TV station Al-Baghdadia


“I’ve watched the video over a dozen times on You Tube and was excited very time I see him [al-Zaidi] standing up and calling Bush a dog,” said Tamer Ismail, 23-year-old art student in Cairo. “But I felt so bitter when he missed.”

Among other things, al Zaidi will be charged with “insulting the Iraqi state” even as he is celebrated as a hero in Iraq and throughout the region. But another irony here involves the fact that such laws continues to exits in what Bush insists on calling a democratic and free Iraq.

On a slightly related note, a friend of mine noted in an email recently that al Zaidi “has excellent aim.  I can’t imagine that this was a spontaneous because he was throwing the shoe from 15 feet away with many heads obstructing his view, and got so close to Bush’s head both times.  He must have practiced with various size shoes for years on end for this one moment with various distractions in the background. ”

Its all worth another look.




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