Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Iraqi Reporter Throws Shoes at President Bush

I never thought I would have a video of President Bush speaking on my blog. But I gotta say when it includes a guy throwing shoes at him it's hard to pass up.

President Bush had to make just one last trip to Iraq before the end of his Presidency. While at a news conference with the Iraqi Prime Minister, one of the Iraqi journalist threw both of his shoes at the President. Now Bush tries to make light of it but in the Arab culture the symbolism of the shoe is very significant.

Here is an explanation provided by Caroline Gammell in the Telegraph.

Showing the sole of your shoe has long been an insult in Arab culture To hit someone with that shoe – as Muntadar al-Zeidi (pictured) tried with President George W Bush – is seen as even worse.

The shoe is considered dirty because it is on the ground and associated with the foot, the lowest part of the body. Hitting someone with a shoe shows that the victim is regarded as even lower. When Saddam Hussein’s statue was toppled in Baghdad in April 2003, Iraqis swarmed around it, striking it with their shoes.

Shoes are often used to attack the American flag and to lash out at photographs of Mr Bush by those protesting against American foreign policy.

As an insult to President George Bush Snr after the first Gulf war, a mosaic of his face was laid on the floor of the Al-Rashid Hotel in Baghdad. Anyone who entered the lobby would have to walk over his face to get into the hotel.

The mosaic was subsequently destroyed by American soldiers in 2003 and replaced with an image of Saddam Hussein.

The shoe is such an offensive symbol that it is seen as culturally rude to cross an ankle over a knee and display the sole of the shoe while talking to another person.

The shoe is also considered unclean in the Muslim faith and believers must remove them before prayers.

Wearing shoes in mosques is forbidden.

Compounding the shoe insult was Mr Zeidi’s likening of the US president to a dog. While the comparison is perhaps not polite in any culture, among Arabs, who traditionally consider dogs unclean, the words were an even even more stinging.

I also loved that Bush could name so many ways people "draw attention to themselves". Like flipping him off and yelling at him at rallies. Thank God the American people have prepared the President to always be on the look out for flying objects - eggs, tomatoes, shoes - he's ready for whatever the world throws at him.

1 comment:

  1. .
    Dubya got a real kick out of this. In Saddam's day this reporter would have been fed to the plastic shredder, after being forced to watch his wife and daughters get gang-raped.
    absurd thought -
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    and Stalin and Mao
    and the Devil combined
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