Jesurgislac’s Journal

December 18, 2008

But people shouldn’t throw shoes!

On Sunday 14th December, an Iraqi journalist, Muntadar al-Zaidi, of Baghdadia Televison, threw a pair of shoes at George W. Bush.

- “This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog.”
- “This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq.”

Zaidi is 28 years old, a graduate of communications from Baghdad University: members of his family were arrrested under Saddam Hussein’s regime, and he himself has been abducted by insurgents once and also held twice for questioning by the US occupation. (BBC)

Personally, I don’t like people throwing shoes at anyone.

His brother, Dargham al-Zaidi, told the BBC that Muntadar deliberately bought Iraqi-made shoes, from a shop on al-Khyam street in central Baghdad: dark brown with laces.

For some reason, I found myself wondering what kind of shoes they were: a pair of rubber flip-flops wouldn’t do much damage; steel-toed Doc Martens would be a different story. Insofar as I could see anything about these particular shoes, a lot would seem to depend on whether or not they had wooden heels.

Bush dodged both shoes, and appeared quite insouciant about the incident. Abdel Karim Khalaf, the head of operations at the interior ministry, told Reporters Without Borders that Muntadar al-Zaidi faced proceedings under Articles 223, 225 and 227 of the Iraqi criminal code: he can be sentenced to up to seven years in prison for “insulting a foreign head of state”.

That said, I also wondered whether Bush would have had any sense at all of how angry a lot of Iraqis are had this not happened.

Bush’s response: “If you want the facts, it’s a size 10 shoe that he threw.” (BBC)

I’m not saying that that makes it OK; just wondering.

Muntadar al-Zaidi has (his brother says) suffered a broken arm, broken ribs and internal bleeding after being beaten in custody. But after all, it wasn’t OK for him to throw shoes.

All these preceding blockquotes are from Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings.

Teresa at Making Light, in her Free Muntadar Zaidi now! post:

So, will someone please tell George that he has two choices? He can either grab a moment’s grace in the midst of the sorry spectacle that is the end of his administration, or he can have people sending shoes in his direction for the rest of his life.

But not Hilzoy. Obviously.

I wondered when Hilzoy took the gig at Political Animal if she would be infected by the same thing that got Kevin Drum: the need to have your political enemies praise you as “unpartisan”. I don’t know if she cross-posted this to Political Animal, but it’s a post Kevin Drum could easily have written, expressing such concern for Bush being the victim of having shoes thrown at him without harming him – without a word or a shred of concern for the man who threw the shoes, though it didn’t take much thought to know that he would suffer badly for what he did.

Update: Where to send your old shoes.

November 11, 2008

My Obama Wish List: 6

What’s next?

6 Withdraw all US troops from Iraq.

Well, okay, even McCain would have had to do that. Bush was supposed to set a timetable for withdrawal a year ago. The US military is overstretched, exhausted, and so near breaking point it’s not even funny.

Better Dunkirque than Thermopylae.

Okay, break’s over!

March 11, 2008

Eason Jordan: what’s the real scandal?

I originally posted this on my livejournal, 22nd February 2005. There’s a contemporary comment thread there, which I cannot figure out how to import over here.

At the 2005 World Economic Forum, held in Davos, CNN’s chief
news executive Eason Jordan said something in answer to a question. Precisely what he said is unknown, since the WEF is held under the Chatham House Rule: “participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.” No tapes of any session held under the Chatham House Rule can be released, either video or audio.

Eason Jordan was just back from Iraq. A blogger (Rony Abovitz) present at one of the discussions, either ignorant of the Chatham House Rule or deliberately breaking it, wrote: “During one of the discussions about the number of journalists killed in the Iraq War, Eason Jordan asserted that he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by US troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted.”

Eason Jordan had already been the target of a right-wing blogmobbing in April 2003, after an Op-Ed he wrote for the New York Times was distorted and used to smear him. It’s not surprising that he resigned when it was clear this off-the-cuff comment at what should have been an off-the-record meeting was going to be used as fuel for another blogmobbing.

Arguments have blazed up over whether the real scandal is what Eason Jordan said, or what happened to him as a result (though curiously enough, I’ve seen no one arguing that the real scandal is that Rony Abovitz egregiously broke the Chatham House Rule and, quite possibly, the organisers of the WEF and other such groups will consider banning amateurs who can’t keep the rule from such meetings in future). A few people have pointed out (Jeanne at Body and Soul for one) that the real scandal is that US soldiers have been killing journalists in Iraq – and no one in the American MSM seems to care very much.

(more…)

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