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    The shoe of accountability

    by Ala on 15th December, 2008 at 10:54 pm    

    It may have been premeditated or it may have been spontaneous, but the quick and fleeting moment of two very well aimed flying shoes has become historic overnight. No doubt it will be an iconic symbolic image of the Iraq war along with the toppling of the Saddam statue. In years to come images of the falling statue will be played followed by a ducking Bush to symbolise the hope and failure of the war in Iraq.

    Some are hailing the journalist and shoe thrower Muntather al Zaidi a hero, others a Baathist ingrate, ungrateful for the great bounties bestowed on his country by the grinning, ducking George Bush (who, just moments before a shoe came hurtling towards his face, made a terrible attempt at saying ‘thank you’ in Arabic).

    For those who are railing against the ingratitude of Al Zaidi, can you please prove to all the good people of the world just how ungrateful Al Zaidi was by showing that not only were proper charges pressed against him, but that his family have been informed of his whereabouts, and that he was definitely not beaten up by security guards, all thanks to the democratic safeguards bestowed on him by the USA?

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    10 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. Muhamad — on 16th December, 2008 at 12:19 am  

      what a strange world we live in.
      in russia racist scumbags get away with murder.
      in baghdad a journalist throws his shoes at Bush, and nobody knows where the journalist is!

    2. Sunny — on 16th December, 2008 at 12:59 am  

      Indeed. I hope the guy is alright… well done on him :)

    3. fugstar — on 16th December, 2008 at 1:25 am  

      sorry, what pathetic accountability mantra are you referring to?

      this reminds my of the moors last sigh, and his mothers rebuke ‘do not weep like a woman for waht you could not protect like a man’.

      its just pathetic on so many levels. im not sayign that in a malicious way, but to throw slippers at the outgoing invader…. i dont know what is more pathetic, the incident, or the applause.

    4. Kulvinder — on 17th December, 2008 at 12:00 am  

      Im ambivalent about it, as fugstar says the act itself - if it represents the unsaid will of a people - was pathetic; not in the sense of being contemptful but rather hapless.

      The people of Iraq are the children of Mesopotamia and the culture of the region is part of the foundation of who we have become - our civilisation is built on those that came before, and the people who lived between the two rivers helped shape humanity eons ago.

      The decendants of those people now find themselves helpless against ‘allies’ they did not seek and ideologies they do not support. They are caught between an America and Britain that easily overpowers them yet fails to understand who they are and rabid zealots who they do not understand, or support, but who nevertheless commit the most vile and indiscriminate crimes in their name.

      On one side is an unstoppable main battle tank on the other an incomprehensible suicide bomber.

      In the midst of that powerlessness the act of throwing a shoe is less about insult and more about desperation. Desperation at being caught between two warring camps, neither of which they summoned, and understandable fustration with their inability to control their own destiny at this moment in time.

      It was a magnificently pitiful act.

      I truly wish that George Bush had been made to look a fool; that he’d been humiliated in Iraq. But alas this is a man beyond parody; you cannot ridicule a buffoon. His words and actions have been so beyond the pale that even if all the journalists present had pelted him with their shoes he’d just have stood grinning and wondering if it was all part of some elaborate aye-rab ritual.

      The journalist isn’t a hero - the true heros of Iraq are the anonymous millions who suffer and strive despite their fate. The doctors who go to work despite the dangers; the policeman fighting for order amongst the chaos.

      I look forward to the day when Iraqis don’t have to be cheered by such scenes because they are in control of their own country and the fustration at having your destiny decided by others is a memory

    5. Refresh — on 17th December, 2008 at 2:42 am  

      Kulvinder, not so pitiful it would seem. Have a read of this piece about the Hero himself:


      Here is a future leader of Iraq.

    6. Kulvinder — on 17th December, 2008 at 10:19 am  

      Although you didn’t say as much; id like to reiterate i didn’t use pitiful as a synonym for contemptuous.

      I’d disagree with the notion the journalist is a hero let alone a future leader. Its fairly obvious that regardless of what happened after he threw the shoes he wouldn’t be executed for it - the millions of ordinary iraqis who have to carefully tread ethnic and religious lines whilst going to work are the real heros, one false step for them and they can end up dead. Nor does that one act show him to have any of the qualities needed for leadership.

      It was a puerile act - magnificent and completely understandable - but puerile. I don’t condemn the journalist for having done it, i don’t blame the Iraqis for having celebrated it.

      But i also know that it was the emotive act of a people helpless to do anything else and i look forward to the day when the reason for that emotion is a half forgotten memory.

      Iraqi leadership and Iraqi heroism is worth more than blowing rasberries at an idiot.

    7. fugstar — on 17th December, 2008 at 10:52 am  

      i do have a sad comeraderie with him, what he must have been through and seen.

      the self satisfied harharhar recepetion to the story troubles me. iran is upside down. bush getting cussed(again) isnt really my issue, i see a lot of new roadies on the growingly fashionable anti iraq war camp.

    8. Refresh — on 17th December, 2008 at 1:43 pm  

      Kulvinder, I saw considerable merit in your original post and didn’t really miss the point.

      However going by that piece I linked it seems he had already recognised and reported, at great personal risk, on the same heroes you and I see. Heroes as John Pilger would have described in his book of the same name.

      Its extremely rare that a very simple act can have such an empowering impact.

      The time and place couldn’t have been better. It was not just a message to Bush and a supreme power, it was a message for and to the heroes of the street. It deflated completely the Maliki-Bush security accord and set the Iraqi nation on a path of unity against future US arm-twisting.


      The reception the story received is also heartwarming, from the outset it was clear that it would be the US that would end this war: the tearing down of the public excuse for it. Aided and abetted by the billions around the world, who saw the true face of the American Dream abroad.

      You should always always welcome new roadies, that is how things get done.

      I am looking forward to seeing this journalist being released and coming to Britain to continue the struggle.

    9. fugstar — on 17th December, 2008 at 2:29 pm  

      the mood of glee in the press here, its just too easy.

      i would prefer a full-on repulsion and bitchslap of occupying forces.

    10. hermes — on 17th December, 2008 at 3:24 pm  


      ‘On one side is an unstoppable main battle tank on the other an incomprehensible suicide bomber.’

      Just brilliant…no need to say anymore.

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