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.
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.