Jordanian Bloggers React To Bush's Shoegate

While a week has yet to pass since US President Bush faced a shoe flying in his direction from an Iraqi journalist during a press conference, the Jordanian blogosphere is already aflutter with varying reactions. Here’s a look at how Jordanian bloggers have been reacting thus far:

In response to a self-posed question of “why do we throw shoes?”, blogger Hareega says:

Because we cannot protest injustice without being afraid of suffering some consequences. Because one of the worst leaders in history flew to the country he had destroyed as if that land was his own, expecting people to greet him as the liberator who brought them the same beautiful democracy that elected him as president twice despite his single-digit IQ.

SimSim, whose students couldn’t stop talking about the incident despite their final exams, notes:

maybe we don't have weapons of destruction to throw them with but God this shoes is way much better ….. good for u bush despite all the grief u caused at least there is something funny for the people to remember u with…

These sentiments seem to generally be shared by most Jordanian bloggers, with some, like Yazan, labeling the journalist as a “legend”. Like many, Haitham Sabbah was also overcome with laughter upon seeing the footage prompting him to join in on the fun:

…even my kids enjoyed the show when they saw what happened to Bush and each of them wished that he could send the same “gift” to Bush. They asked me how can they send their shoes and I told them that we can send it over air. Since then they were not sure which pair of shoes each of them will send, so I suggested to take a picture of all the shows. So here we go: “A goodbye kiss, you dog!” from me and all my family.

Photo Courtesy of Haitham Sabbah

While footage of the incident can widely be found throughout the Jordanian blogosphere, the Web’s quick production of various multimedia content making light of Bush’s unfortunate encounter, can also be seen scattered around the local blogosphere. Nadine offers a great collections of caricatures, videos and articles. Samer, of Jazarah also offers a few cartoons and online games.

Meanwhile, blogger Issam disagrees with general sentiment of the public, stating:

Personally, I have never been a fan of President Bush. I actually criticized his administration continuously on this blog; however I think that the incident is childish and regretable to say the least. I wish the “Journalist” used his words as an adult instead of his hands especially as a “Journalist” which chidren do. Unfortunately, I also believe that the incident will continue to reinforce the “angry Arab” image around the globe.

Despite many online positive reactions to the show-throwing incident, Jad is wondering whether the journalist will be released unharmed, and if that will be a testament of whether America has in fact brought democracy to Iraq. In response to Jad's post, fellow blogger Secratea leaves a comment noting her concern that the incident may reinforce negative stereotypes regarding Arabs and tarnish their image.

But one thing I am sure of: who cares about our image in the West concerning this particular incident when we all know that Bush has caused ultimate barbarous destruction in Iraq, while never caring about his image nor the image of his great country to us, the Arab and Muslim world…?

Meanwhile, The Observer is busy grappling with the concept of honor, unable to make sense of why some Americans felt offended by the shoe-throwing incident in the same manner that Arabs were offended by Saddam Hussein’s execution, emphasizing the fact that neither leader represents a country for people to feel any offense. He notes:

People around the world restored their hope in the American people when Obama got elected. We believe in the American people and America as a nation. I will repeat Queen Rania's words here: Our fight is not between East and West, Muslims and Christians, it is between extremists and moderates at both sides. George Bush have managed to help extremists gain ground all over the world. It is time to put the world back on track.

When J’s husband received an SMS on his phone asking for people to celebrate December 14th as “Kundara Day” (Arabic for “shoe”), her thoughts caused her to wonder beyond the humor of the incident and in to more serious reflections:

I could hear the howls of laughter tinged with satisfaction reverberate around the Arab world as we eventually caught up with the news …. Iraqi journalist throws shoes at President Bush … such a simple, symbolic act, but oh so loaded, and the Arab street got the message loud and clear, did the leaders though, I wonder?

In a post titled “shoegate”, 7iber, the Jordanian citizen media site, has posted an interesting video montage (Arabic) where various Jordanians on the streets of the capital, Amman, were asked what they thought about the whole incident:

Elsewhere, as Jordanian parliament observed a moment of silence out of respect for the Iraqi shoe-tosser, Naseem wonders if, when it comes to being concerned about things being thrown around, parliament's focus should be directed a little closer to home.


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