Hail the Shoe-Thrower

Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the Egyptian journalist who threw two shoes at President Bush yesterday during a Baghdad press conference yesterday, is suddenly a new Middle-Eastern folk hero, and no wonder. Thousands of Iraqis “took to the streets today to demand al-Zeidi’s release, to hail him as a hero and to praise his insult as a proper send-off to the unpopular U.S. president,” says this AP story by Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Omar Sinan.

I agree with the angry masses. Like Peter Finch‘s Howard Beale did in Network, Muntadhar al-Zeidi has articulated a popular rage. Throwing those shoes

was an act of civil disobedience no different than Boston patriots throwing tea into the harbor. He did an impolite thing, but he didn’t use a weapon or hurt anyone and he said what an awful lot of people (myself included) feel. If the Iraqi authorities were smart, they’d let him go. With this act they would be saying to the Iraqi people, “We hear you” and “issues of bad manners to a visiting head of state aside, we don’t entirely disagree.”

46 thoughts on “Hail the Shoe-Thrower

  1. So this kind of behavior should be allowed when it is directed toward Obama? Because there will be “popular rage” at his policies from at least a percentage of the population.

    And actually, al-Zeidi did use a weapon, and did intend to hurt someone. If you disagree, let someone hurl a boot at your face from a few feet away and let me know how it feels.

  2. Haw haw haw.

    As many have already pointed out, if a guy chucked a shoe in the direction of the previous leader of Iraq, he’d already have been tortured to death, and they’d be gunning down the morons shouting in the streets.

    That’s what you’re cheering. Haw haw haw.

  3. Massey, If Obama does to the world a tenth the damage that Bush has done, I say anyone’s more than welcome to hurl shoes at his face on his way out of office.

  4. Go out U.S.A.? What is that supposed to mean? almost everyone in the U.S. goes out for something. Look folks if you don’t want us. you put a sign that says YANKEE GO HOME, get it . Being a northern I can’t tell what sign you would put up for southern people.

  5. “So this kind of behavior should be allowed when it is directed toward Obama? ”

    If he fucks up as collossaly as Dubya, sure. But that percentage of the population that you speak of are going to be against him regardless, so they can suck it.

  6. This is definitely enlightening. So if you strongly disagree with a sitting President of the United States, you should be allowed to physically attack him.

    Nice to know where your heads are at.

  7. Josh, Josh, Josh….

    All these years later and you STILL apparently don’t understand the culture of the area we invaded on trumped up pretenses.

    Al-Zeidi only intended to hurl an insult at Bush. Considering what a huge fucking deal the administration made of images of the Iraqis beating Saddam’s statues with their shoes, if you are aware of that then you’re just a lying sack of shit for trying to claim any harm other than to his ego was directed at Bush.

    It is the ultimate rebuke to Bush that this happened while he was trying to stage some last minute photo-ops out of the country because Obama has sucked all the air out of the room back home.

  8. It’s sad that civil unrest anywhere has been fully co-opted by 20th century marketing tactics– someone had to print the “Go Out U.S.A.” signs in English and Arabic and hand them out.

  9. Regardless of your thoughts about him, George W. Bush is your president and, as an American, you should be outraged at this incident. He may be a horrible president, but he is our horrible president.

  10. “…then you’re just a lying sack of shit for trying to claim any harm other than to his ego was directed at Bush. ”

    If you really don’t think he intended any true harm, I’d love to volunteer to stand within ten feet of you and hurl a boot at your face. Then you can tell me if the symbolic nature of my action had any real effect.

  11. Still, one can’t help but be in awe of the symmetry involved; from Iraqis slapping their shoes at a toppled Saddam statue as it’s dragged through the street, to an enraged Arab journalist chucking his shoes at W in the twilight of his presidency. The Iraq War in a nutshell — very cinematic in its set-up/pay-off.

  12. Okay first off what’s wrong with you kids? Don’t you watch MSNBC? (Shame on you) They explained the whole shoe symbolism thingy.

    Apparently the deal is: the sole of the shoe represents lowest you (a person) can be. So he, this al-Zeidi (which ps is it just me or does that name sound vaguely Jewish?) fellow considers Mr. Bush “the lowest he can be” as in “he did a crappy job” and that’s why he hucked the shoes at him.

    And in truth if you really stop and think about, it’s kind of a back-handed compliment from an middle eastern point of view. At the risk of sounding ignorant, from where I’m standing? In THAT particular part of the world? Shoes look like they’re hard to come by. He threw what might be his ONLY pair of shoes. So if you look at it that way it’s a compliment. And HEY? At least it wasn’t a bomb. Personally I would have thrown a cabbage. Because cabbage is komedy.

    Shoes..? Meh. Are political.

  13. “…hurl a boot at your face…”

    An intellectually dishonest one at that – so now it’s a boot. Will it be platform, KISS-style shoes tomorrow?

    Watch the video, boot-licker, it’s clearly a shoe.

  14. The whole thing perfectly encapsulates the Iraq War: Bush ducks the shoes and instead it is allowed to hit the American flag behind him.

    Bush’s Legacy in a nutshell.

  15. Ok, Deathtongue, you got me – I will instead be happy to throw a shoe at your face. Solely in a symbolic nature not meaning any real harm, of course. Sound good?

  16. Krazy Eyes FTW.

    When I was 8 years old, a man in our church threw his shoe at the pastor because of some perceived theological insult/issue/whatever. It was a legend in our church for YEARS!

    And I’m from Portland, OR. Not Iraq. So some people know about the shoe thing. It’s not just Middle Eastern, it’s kind of an ancient-times thing. (only they would probably use sandals)

  17. You guys are gonna miss Bush. Who, then, can our rage about the system be directed?

    And you’ll miss having him to focus on, instead of the reality. Homeboy Arab journalist was able to throw a shoe at Bush because of Bush.

    Because of Bush, homeboy journalist is a folk hero to some dissatisfied people in his country.

    If Saddam had been the target, homeboy journalist would be another disappeared person in a mass grave, with his family members eliminated as well (with a bonus rape for the females of the family, too).

  18. Still no news about Obama and Blagojevich.

    Guess you’re just one of the masses that is selective about what to report and if it isn’t palatable to your taste….There’s nothing to report.

  19. Haw haw haw.

    As many have already pointed out, if a guy chucked a shoe in the direction of the previous leader of Iraq, he’d already have been tortured to death, and they’d be gunning down the morons shouting in the streets.

    That’s what you’re cheering. Haw haw haw.

  20. Having lived in the M-E twice (UAE for quite a while, Lebanon for a stint), I can tell you that every Arab who protests America knows in his heart that America is giving him the freedom to do so that his own peoples’ leaders do not. I look at a picture like that and I know the self-loathing behind it.

    Go ahead, flame me, ye who have never been closer to this mob than lunchtime at Falafel King.

  21. Massey, the only argument you can come up with is, “How would you like it if I threw a shoe at you?”

    I know you are but what am I?

    Homosayswhat?

  22. leape – cannot you not apparently grasp the contradictions in your own post.

    Just how many ways does Fitzgerald have to spell it out for it sink into the average dittohead’s unused brainpan? Seems you are one of the masses that if news isn’t palatable to YOUR tastes you’ll just keep repeating chickenshit innuendo until it sticks.

    It’s gonna be fun for the next 8 years watching the Cons spin their wheels not realizing that the old shtick ain’t working this time.

  23. “Regardless of your thoughts about him, George W. Bush is your president and, as an American, you should be outraged at this incident. He may be a horrible president, but he is our horrible president.”

    Outraged why? Because he missed?

    Seriously, you folks who are up in arms about this journalist “attacking” the Bush with his shoe … have you honestly never seen some of the brouhahas that go on in the various legislative bodies in the Middle East? Those folks get downright rowdy when they disagree with each other … a thrown shoe or two is rather low-key, based on some of the fisticuffs between grown men in political situations over there. Try watching C-Net, or at least getting some awareness of other cultures, before you spout off about this journalistic attacking our hallowed leader. Bush just ought to be glad the guy tossed a shoe at him, and not a bomb.

  24. Josh: “So this kind of behavior should be allowed when it is directed toward Obama?”

    Obama was elected, and didn’t illegally occupy another country.

    “So if you strongly disagree with a sitting President of the United States, you should be allowed to physically attack him.”

    Well, he physically attacked detainees, so…

    “If you really don’t think he intended any true harm, I’d love to volunteer to stand within ten feet of you and hurl a boot at your face.”

    Sure, as soon as you tell me those interrogation techniques are more than just “college pranks”.

    Belloc: “As many have already pointed out, if a guy chucked a shoe in the direction of the previous leader of Iraq, he’d already have been tortured to death, and they’d be gunning down the morons shouting in the streets.”

    Actually, we did shoot up protesters in Iraq. Nice try, though.

    “I can tell you that every Arab who protests America knows in his heart that America is giving him the freedom to do so that his own peoples’ leaders do not”

    Yes, puppet government=freedom.

    AH: “Regardless of your thoughts about him, George W. Bush is your president”

    If you ignore the voter fraud in FL and OH, sure.

    Griff: “If Saddam had been the target, homeboy journalist would be another disappeared person in a mass grave, with his family members eliminated as well (with a bonus rape for the females of the family, too).”

    And Bush’s father helped make that possible. So what’s your point?

    leape: “Still no news about Obama and Blagojevich.

    Guess you’re just one of the masses that is selective about what to report and if it isn’t palatable to your taste….”

    How many times did you Republicans show concern for the Enron connection or Valerie Plame?

  25. “Massey, the only argument you can come up with is, ‘How would you like it if I threw a shoe at you?’”

    Have you even read the thread? I’m arguing against the vapid notion of “shoe throwing is just what these people do, and we must respect their culture! He wasn’t meaning to do any physical harm!”

    To which I say, if it truly wasn’t meaning to do any physical harm, I will gladly show you your error by chucking my Bass size 10s at your nose. It’s just, like, my culture and stuff, symbolizing my distaste with your opinions.

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  27. Having lived in the M-E twice (UAE for quite a while, Lebanon for a stint), I can tell you that every Arab who protests America knows in his heart that America is giving him the freedom to do so that his own peoples’ leaders do not. I look at a picture like that and I know the self-loathing behind it.

    Go ahead, flame me, ye who have never been closer to this mob than lunchtime at Falafel King.

  28. Dittohead!?!

    Bwaahhhh!!! I was fightin the Iraq occupation against the 1st Bush. Our ROTC commander didn’t want any of his men and women dying for the oil companies.

    Fitzgerald’s office is FURIOUS at the early disclosure of the Blago case. They wanted to catch the gov actually selling the senate seat.

    Do your own homework. This has nothing to do with being red or blue. I am from Chicago and extremely wary of anyone arising from this political scene and claiming to be a reformer.

  29. ‘Obama is going to turn into Bush. He already is, actually. ‘

    Hearken Ye, to the power of Obama. Even the most rude and mean of the Vulgar now clamor His greatness. How long till lesser minds acede to his will? Mark Ye this date, for it is the first where the simple declare their undying and uncritical love for Universal Health-Care, effective and responsible action to addres Global Warming, Peak Oil, and who knows what other rational responces to crises. Yeah, tho ye may have sucked the balls of the free market, ye may also know the truth. So let it be written, so let it be done.

  30. Massey, we get it: shoes fuckn’ hurt. Now quit whining like a girl who lost HER size 10s. Of course he meant to hurt him – the most he’d get is a little bruise. Size 10s may hurt but not nearly as much as Blackwater’s bullets through your windshield.

    And if the obvious symbolism is lost on you well… you are a Bush supporter.

    In your world it’s okay to invade a country, give armed thugs immunity to shoot up its citizens but it’s a SHOCKING CRIME to throw a goddamn shoe at the man responsible.

    I know, I know, I can stand there while you throw a shoe at me to see how I like it. Is that what pisses you off so much? That he gets to throw his shoes and you don’t?

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