Muntazer al-Zeidi, “hero of the Iraqi People” by Carlos Latuff
Will this become one of those moments in history? In years to come will you recount to your grand children where you were when an Iraqi journalist, Montather Al-Zeidi, threw his shoes at the president of the United States? For me I was at home just getting my kids ready to sleep when my father called me insisting that I simply had to switch on the television immediately.
Iraqi bloggers reacted in much the same way with a number who wrote their first new post in months just to make their comment. Abbas Hawazin went as far to predict that shoe throwing will now be part of mainstream culture and has gone to look for a good-sized shoe to carry in his pocket, “in case I need to make any public expression of anger should the case arise.”
Word from the Streets
Last of Iraqis broke his once-a-week frequency to share his opinion on the incident. “In the Iraqi traditions or may I say Arabic traditions in general; it's the maximum insult a man can do…it's the maximum humiliation no word can accomplish”, he writes. And he gives his view of the Iraqi Street:
Today I went to work as usual and all the people I saw were very very happy, it was like a national celebration…A female patient came to me for a filling and as we were waiting for the Anesthesia to take effect she said “do you know doc. That yesterday was an Eid to me; I haven't celebrated Eid for the past 3 years because the Americans “accidentally” killed my husband and son and Bush is the reason why they are here so yesterday some of my revenge has been taken” …all the staff said the same thing “A statue should be built for Muntathar” in fact many of them have used the photo of Muntathar as a background for their mobiles but the really beautiful thing that made me even happier was that no one referred to his sect or anything…they were all proud of him…
So what will happen now? Will he be considered a terrorist? Will throwing a president with a shoe be a terrorist act?
I think there will be two scenarios of what will happen…either he will continue his life in jail for countless charges and die there or he will be released within few weeks and after some time he will be dead and of course they will say for natural causes or he might die in an accident.
Hammorabi goes some way to explain the anger behind the man who preferred a shoe to a well-worded question:
This journalist have seen the US troops killing women and children since 1991, children died from the use of Depleted Uranium … because the USA has prevented importing such treatment under the 12 years sanction since 1991 Gulf war. He has seen the USA many times since 1991, destroying the Iraqi infrastructures, hospitals, mosques, houses, schools, universities, historical sites, factories, and so on. After the invasion in 2003 he has seen the American and their allies’ troops humiliating, assaulting and torturing the Iraq civilians in Abo-Ghreeb prison and in Basrah city by British troops. It is in front of his eyes and every Iraqi eyes the US soldiers and the American security companies such as Black Water killing the Iraqis, humiliating them, and behaving with arrogance and superiority … Iraq became the country of death, killing, lack of services, diseases such as cholera, corruption especially in oil, and division. Many and many other consequences since 1991 US wars in Iraq. All these in mind no wonder why the Iraqi journalist hit GWB with his shoes. GWB was wrong to say this is so the journalist wants to bring attention. It is not but it is the response after all these years of misery by the USA in Iraq.
We feel that the journalist could have asked GWB some questions however that might pass unnoticed and he chose the way that he likes to express his anger against the US wars in this country.
Khalid Jarrar broke a six-month silence to list reactions on his Facebook page. He writes:
Believe it or not, a lot of people think that this guy, Montathar, regardless of the beating he probably is still having, deserves a statue in the middle of Baghdad. I am willing to fund it myself :D
One person who does not think so is Nibras Kazimi who stood alone among Iraqi bloggers to defend George Bush:
Personally, I got angry. Very angry.
I will make a public promise: should I ever run into a certain reporter called Muntather al-Zaidi, presently of Al-Baghdadia TV, I will seriously consider beating the crap out of him… See, I will forever remain indebted to President George W. Bush. He is my hero. He liberated Iraq, and that's how I will always see it. Had there been no President Bush, then Saddam would still be Saddam.
The usual suspects are ecstatic over what happened, especially the US-based media and Iraq-watchers. I would like to beat them all up too, but I think that would be a tad bit excessive. The best revenge is to make them watch Iraq's democracy strengthen and prosper.
Baghdad Treasure is torn between professional pride and being an Iraqi:
As a journalist myself, I found what the reporter did was extremely wrong. Journalists have their voices and pens (and now the internet) to express whatever they want to protest against. However, I was kind of relieved. As an Iraqi citizen, I believe Bush deserved this ending that the entire world will remember and cherish. I mean what wrong the man had done was huge. His failure to prepare for an invasion aftermath caused Iraqis and Americans hundreds of thousands of souls, not to mention the destruction of an entire country, the millions who have migrated and the creation of terrorism in Iraq. Well, you know the rest. There is no need to go into details here…
Anyways, now Bush has one last thing to have the world remember him with. If I were him… Nah, I’ll keep this to myself.
Several bloggers are concerned for the journalist and call for his release. Raed Jarrar has started an online petition. He writes:
Some of my contacts in Baghdad assured me that the Iraqi Journalist who threw the shoes at bush today was heavily beaten (you can actually hear him scream in pain in this released video)
After beating him, the Iraqi authorities arrested Mr. Al-Zeidi.
We were also filled with grief and recited the Fateeha, because we knew that Muntather Al-Zaidi signed his own death warrant. This guy is finished.
Mom added that he will be tortured first, most probably with shoes before his execution…
I therefore urge all people of conscience, in particular Journalists without Borders, any syndicate or union of journalists anywhere in the world, to mobilize themselves for the release of Muntather before he gets executed.
Ladybird reports on the inevitable computer games that will be spun from the shoe throwing incident. She links to an “Educational” one from a Norwegian newspaper where the player can calculate the right angle and force.
This is a ripe topic for a limerick, don’t you think? Here is one from my blog Newsmericks (http://www.newsmericks.com):
Sole searching in Iraq
Bush admitted, he didn’t have a clue
That his trip to bid Iraq adieu
Would leave them so broken
That as farewell token
They’d gift him that not-so-new shoe!
After ducking that number 10 sole,
Bush laughed off the event as droll.
But the message was clear
From the flying souvenir —
He’d pissed off Iraq beyond control!
Said George Bush, I didn’t know, I swear,
That I’d messed up the Iraq affair.
But the truth sort of bloomed,
When in front of me loomed,
That journalist’s stinking footwear!
The size number 10 left him frowning;
He recalled an old pal from Downing.
How unfair, he rued,
That Blair didn’t get shoed –
He jumped ship in time, left me drowning!
Why did he miss? Would have liked to see that smile knocked off his face. The way he treated all Muslims he was asking for it.
It may have been wrong the way we went into Iraq,but the world must have known about the most evil man,who killed his own countymen,it is an unspoken,that Iraq will become,in time a new face,and peace will come.
A good throw and a good duck. Did Bush get his practice in a 3 Stooges movie? A pie would have been more to my taste, but then there are cultural differences, and it might have been harder to get a couple of pies into that event than a couple of shoes on a couple of feet, particularly if they did not have a bomb in them. I favor blackberry pies- they leave a beautiful purple stain and are yummy in the tummy. Here abouts, around Cottage Grove, we have a Blackberry Pie Society. How about you? Wild Blackberry Pie action groups have been busy baking- wild blackberry pies. Put your shoes back on and get some.
I’m afraid no action can be quick enough to save Montather alive and in one piece. The American Government was always swift to show no one can step on their shoes and live… what to say about people throwing shoes at their President.
Montather is sure more than a hero. He represents the feeling of a nation — even more, the feeling of an entire Region that was always raped by US interests and troops. But, sadly, I guess he will be as dead as most heroes are in short time. Count this one more death on the “liberators” of the Iraq. They have plenty of them in their backs, and won’t care about it. This is the way the Bush administration is. They tell a joke and get on with their business, laughing at the back of the whole world.
The question now is if Barack Obama can make things different in the future. He said “yes we can”. So, let’s hope he’s right.
SHOES THROWN IN IRAQ.
It was a desperate act, when the typical journalist toolkit is not enough. Get ready for bare-foot press conferences now. The hero-mongering and commercialization of the act threaten to both trivialize and magnify the wrong aspects. The country obviously needs a strong leader.
That’s what a wonderful change democracy does to the right and aspiration of people. This will be known as milestone of Irqi people’s freedom of expression. Have anyone dare to think to do this to Saddam during his rule.