This guy has quickly become a cult hero in the Middle East, and I’m not talking about Bush.
BAGHDAD — Calling someone the “son of a shoe” is one of the worst insults in Iraq. But the lowly shoe and the Iraqi who threw both of his at President Bush, with widely admired aim, were embraced around the Arab world on Monday as symbols of rage at a still unpopular war.
In Saudi Arabia, a newspaper reported that a man had offered $10 million to buy just one of what has almost certainly become the world’s most famous pair of black dress shoes.
A daughter of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, reportedly awarded the shoe thrower, Muntader al-Zaidi, a 29-year-old journalist, a medal of courage.
In the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, people calling for an immediate American withdrawal removed their footwear and placed the shoes and sandals at the end of long poles, waving them high in the air. And in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, people threw their shoes at a passing American convoy.
“Although that action was not expressed in a civilized manner, it showed the Iraqi feelings, which is to object to the American occupation,” said Qutaiba Rajaa, a 58-year-old physician in Samarra, a Sunni stronghold north of Baghdad.
But many more expressed undiluted pleasure. “I swear by God that all Iraqis with their different nationalities are glad about this act,” said Yaareb Yousif Matti, a 45-year-old teacher from Mosul, in northern Iraq.
Mr. Zaidi, who remained in custody Monday, provided a rare moment of unity in a region often at odds with itself. Glee, even if thinly veiled, could be discerned in much of the reporting, especially in places where anti-American sentiment runs deepest.
Now I’m not at all for the anti-American glee thing and I know the right winger nutters are going to say that anyone who doesn’t want al-Zaidi executed is a terrorist, but this whole incident is just too damn funny….
…until you realize what led to the desperation…
As Mr. Bush was speaking, Mr. Zaidi rose abruptly from about 12 feet away, reared his right arm and fired a shoe at the president’s head while shouting in Arabic: “This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog!”
Mr. Bush deftly ducked and the shoe narrowly missed him. A few seconds later, the journalist tossed his other shoe, again with great force, this time shouting, “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq!” Again, the shoe sailed over the president’s head.
It should be noted that al-Zaidi had told others of his plan to make a statement. He even made sure to be wearing Iraqi-made shoes when this went down.
Another thing to think about is what this might be able to do for the Iraqi psyche, first tortured by Saddam and then liberated through fire by Bush.
A number of Iraqis said they were dismayed by what Mr. Zaidi had done. Ahmad Abu Risha, the head of the Awakening Council in Anbar Province, a group of tribal leaders that started a wave of popular opposition to fighters linked to Al Qaeda, condemned the move.
“The American president is the guest of all Iraqis,” he said. “The Iraqi government has to choose good journalists to attend such conferences.”
Mr. Zaidi, who has not been formally charged, faces up to seven years in prison for committing an act of aggression against a visiting head of state. It was unclear whether his popularity would prompt Mr. Maliki’s government to lighten his punishment.
Mr. Zaidi’s hero status continued to grow on Monday.
In Damascus, a 34-year-old shop owner, who gave his name only as Muhammad, said he was on his way to celebrate the shoe-throwing incident with friends.
“This is like a holiday,” he said. “This is just what we needed for revenge.”
That works for me. Can we call it even now? We voted him out of office (kinda, his party, and the Neocons…which were a driving force behind the reason we decided to attack a country that hadn’t attacked us), and y’all insulted him to his face, maybe we can build upon this common sense of things and create a more peaceful tomorrow.
UPDATE: The Washington Post is reporting that al-Zaidi suffered a broken arm, broken ribs, and internal bleeding after the shoe tossing. I know I’m in a huge minority of Americans here (as I was when trying to keep this particular war from starting), but I think a little shoe tossing can be forgiven when a fool invades your country on bad intelligence. Bush should ask for him to be pardoned. No harm, no foul. At least to Bush. Iraq is another story.
UPDATE: Really, Bush is cool with it. Let the guy go.
Quite a bit surprised by this one. It’s tough to find the right line in a rant like this, but GOM does a very good job.
I can’t vouch for his other work, but this one is very well done. Personally I think Obama is being practical in how to draw down U.S. forces in Iraq. I’m fairly certain he understands that the “surge stragety” for Iraq won’t pay dividends in Afghanistan, and will be settling on another strategy to try and turn the tide in that country.
Oh, and here’s the shoe incident he mentioned…
I wonder if we could all head to the White House and throw our shoes at it. I wonder if Bush would get it then.
That’s probably the first thing I’m going to do once they dedicate his library in my home town (he just bought a house down the street from me).
For some reason that might do the trick, and I think he would finally get it….so….who’s up for a quick trip to D.C.?
I’m fairly certain Cheney wouldn’t get it. He would either ignore it or order everyone shot…in the face.
Around the Arab world, if you want to escalate a situation, by saying for example “I’m going to thump you”, add the words “with a shoe” and you’re adding serious insult to the threat of possible injury.
It’s that cultural significance that has added real sting to the assault by an Iraqi journalist against US President George W Bush at a Baghdad news conference.
In Arab culture it’s considered rude even to display the sole of one’s shoe to a fellow human being.
Certainly, crossing one’s legs ankle-on-knee style should never be done in a public place for fear of offending the person next to you.
The sensitivity is related to the fact shoes are considered ritually unclean in the Muslim faith.
In addition to ritual ablutions before prayer, Muslims must take off their shoes to pray, and wearing shoes inside a mosque is forbidden.
There’s a lot of dust in the Middle East, you see, and it gets everywhere…and a lot of camels and other livestock…it’s a cultural tradition with a good bit of common sense behind it, when you think about it.
As the Supreme Court today made it official that there is no constitutional crisis regarding the definition of a “natural born citizen.” It seems they are comfortable with the case law as it stands, born here (like Obama) or born to two “active” Americans abroad (like McCain). Chief Justice John Roberts will do his duty to swear in Barack Hussein Obama on January 20th, 2009 to the office of Presidnet of the United States.
Knowing this was going to be the case, Leo Donofrio’s mind fell to pieces and he wrote this post on Saturday…
I have archived it in the event that he follows the advice of a large number of posters who suggest he should delete it, as it makes him, and them, look crazy (he already knows he is , which is why he’s comfortable leaving it up…).
After he made that post, I did a bit of googling and reading and found the real motivating factor for his quest. He is pretty sure that Obama is the literal Anti-Christ. He tries to claim that the post linked above, where he hopes “That One” gets assassinated by the beast (yup, Leo, the Secret Service *will* be visiting…they don’t take that stuff lightly) is satire.
Sadly for Leo, the Internet has a long and literal memory. Once you get a couple of the search terms right, the Truth opens before one like a flower in springtime.
To wit…and this is a repost of a comment on my original thread in response to another avid follower of these shenanigans….
Actually, Leo posted the bad news yesterday in this rather stunning admission that he is totally off his rocker, as I suggested in the title of this post….
He goes by the name “Jet Wintzer” sometimes according to this the blurb about his band, Schizo Fun Addict. His World Series of Poker bio, thoughtfully linked in the meltdown, mentions the band name. Reading the bands background leads us to “Jet Wintzer” [note: He says “Jet Schizo” in the meltdown, but the band bio says othersie.]
All of this leads to the final nail in the coffin of crazy….
He also considers himself to be an embodiment of the “Holy Spirit” in his post under the pseudonym “the Paraclete.” [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraclete ] and is tasked with telling of the coming of the Messiah.
To wit…and this is long….and incredibly revealing….note the “failed lawyer” part…
The following are liner notes to the film I’m submitting to Trigger Street in the next cycle. I think you’ll be into it
I am the author of internet cult phenomenon “ONELOVESTORY”, written under the alias BURNWEED. In 1994 I was at a low point in my life, a failed law career led to me being a singer in a failed rock band inspired by the 89/90 Manchester Rock/Rave explosion.
In 1994 my band broke up and I was in a bad way. Angels intervened.
I was led by dream to the music, art and lyrics of my fav band, Manchester icons, The Stone Roses.
I began to recognize a hidden concept within their work leading me to believe they were angels of the apocalypse and I was called to break the story, something like “Paul is Dead” by The Beatles or the Publius Enigma (Pink Floyd).
I spent 1995-1999 trying to break the story to the UK music press by using art terrorist tactis. In 1998 I realized I was The Paraclete and that my purpose was to prophecy the return of the Messiah. The angels led me to one ALLAN(Reni)WREN, reclusive drummer of The Stone Roses. Needless to say I never had a chance of getting ONELOVESTORY or my music any press as they all thought I was insane and trying to ride on the shoulders of another band’s dream as a charlatan.
So I changed my name and reincarnated myself as Jet Wintzer, leader of a fledgling New York City art noise lofi psychedelic group, SCHIZO FUN ADDICT.
Our music, not obviously tied to ONELOVESTORY because of our going under cover, finally captured media attention breaking through with rave reviews in major magazines such as UNCUT, Q, NME, and NEW YORK PRESS. Only after we released two critically accalimed CDs did I let the media know I was BURNWEED/PARACLETE, author of ONELOVESTORY. EVERET TRUE, Legendary journalist from England’s now defunct MELODY MAKER, having already sung our praises with a blistering rave of our second album “Diamond” in New York Press, finally broke ONELOVESTORY in print in the October 2001 issue of MOJO Mag, the UKs biggest rock publication.
Bizarre as this may sound, it’s all true and has been documented in Usenet newsgroup alt.music.stone-roses since 1996.
In the next Trigger Street I will present a 10 minute film we’ve made about my life and the metamorphosis I’ve gone through as a result of following the angels and trusting them. The film is called BIPOLAR PHOENIX. There are two ten second trailers for it at our site
Yes…the internet never forgets. Something that will most likely come back to bite *me* some day as well, but there ya go.
He’s a nut. A well-meaning nut, I think, but one who has got this weird idea that Obama is the Anti-Christ stuck very, very deep in his mind. He has been on a holy mission, which is why he’s put so much effort into his windmill tilting and why he totally frickin’ lost it when he lost that battle.
I tried to let him know that I was on to him in the thread on Saturday. He deleted my first couple attempts at congratulating him for leading so many people astray(?), so I quickly crafted a couplet that would both castigate him for deleting my previous responses, while simultaneously appearing to his other readers that it actually supported his position. He posted it, along with high praise….
To be even more clear, denying the right of another to speak does not a stronger argument make.
Eh, “the Paraclete”?
[ed. If I don’t think somebody is being genuine, and is trying to confuse people for the sake of confusion just because they know how to play with words… they don’t get to speak on my blog. As to what’s posted here, I am the boss. If you don’t think I’ve been fair, leave. Word up.]
I got a hearty laugh out of that one, as MY ENTIRE PURPOSE for engaging in this argument was to keep Leo from trying to confuse people by playing with the Word. And yes, I am extremely adept at it.
C’mon Leo….you’ve had ten years….don’t you know who it is yet?
So that’s the plan for this week. The weapon is loaded, the charge is primed, there is a but a single action yet required to put the whole thing in motion. I’m a bit scared of this one, and a close reading of my work (and world history) should be explanation enough for that fear. However, after discussing it with my mother yesterday, I can do nothing but agree with her.
Fear is not a good argument for non-action when one knows an action is pure.
And now a word for today that I came across while researching a quote for my book (that would be the aforementioned “weapon”…see tabs above), mediabatory.
MEDIABATORY (adverb, from mediabation, root to mediabate)
Of, or relating to, the media’s tendency to report the same damn thing over and over again when a story is breaking but there is nothing truly new to report. Generally used to suggest that the situation has shifted from reporting the news to masturbation of same.
Example: “The constant barrage of non-information regarding Caylee Anthony has become mediabatory.”