Monday, December 15, 2008

Shoes fly at Bush and the lame duck ducks


Dogged coverage is a trademark in the travelling press corps, but here's a new twist. Can a reporter also be a protestor? At a Baghdad presser, this transpired (and the only one who was hurt was press spokesperson Dana Perino, who got a black eye.


Muntazer al-Zaidi, who works for independent al-Baghdadiya television, has shot to local stardom for his attack on Bush and his cry: "This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog."

He has also won instant fame abroad -- a poem on an Islamist website praises him as "a hero with a lion's heart" -- although the Iraqi government slated his "barbaric and ignominious act".

Zaidi's crude public display of disdain for an incumbent U.S. president hit a chord with many in the Middle East. He has suffered a broken arm and ribs, and remains in detention.

Patrick Cockburn of the Independent reports about world response to the'Sole protester' in the press corps:

* "The shoes should be exhibited in a museum as they resemble a rocket that talks on behalf of all Iraqis." - Zahraa, posting on website of Arabian Business magazine

* "The flying shoe speaks more for Arab public opinion than all the despots/puppets Bush meets during his travels in the Middle East." - Asad Abu Khalil, professor at Stanislaus University in California

"Our defence will be based on the fact that the US is occupying Iraq, and resistance is legitimate by all means, including shoes." - Saddam Hussein's former lawyer, Khalil al-Dulaimi, explaining that he was forming a team to defend Mr Zaidi

* "Please listen again. This is the sound of the shoe hitting the wall and missing President Bush." - Radio announcer in Tehran

* "Throwing shoes at Bush was the best goodbye kiss ever. It expresses how Iraqis ... hate Bush." - Musa Barhoumeh, editor of Jordan's independent Al-Gahd newspaper

* "He couldn't have gotten away with something as silly as that without democracy." - Greg, posting on the LA Times website

* "[Our group took] the decision to give Muntazer al-Zaidi the courage award because what he did is a victory for human rights across the world." - Aicha Gaddafi, daughter of the Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and head of the charity Waatassimou

* "I don't like Bush, but I don't agree with this action, it's not civilised. Journalists should use pen and paper to make their point, not their shoes." - Hamza Mahdi, a Baghdad shopkeeper

Bush's boot camp

*The hundreds of thousands of hits obtained by YouTube video footage of Muntazer al-Zaidi's attack on George Bush show that the incident has become a viral sensation on the internet, and has spawned a video game. Bush's Boot Camp puts you in the role of security guards tasked with protecting the President and preventing him being hit by flying shoes.

2 comments:

geezer said...

Geo Bush senior is known for throwing up on the shoes of the Japanese leader; now his rising son is known for having shoes thrown at him in Baghdad. (polished dress shoes, size ten)

How did he get off two tosses? And have the authorities beaten him to a pulp??

Anonymous said...

you must mean, how did the journalist get off both shoes before being wrestled to the ground??