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December 17, 2008
The Shoe-Thrower Gets a
Job Offer; And Bush is Overdue for a Long Vacation
Albert Einstein once remarked that, although he did not know what World
War III will be fought with, World War IV will be fought with sticks and
stones. If he were alive today, he would surely add “shoes” to that
The outcome of President Bush’s visit to Iraq over the weekend was
overshadowed by an audacious act of insolence by a 29-year-old Iraqi
reporter, who hurled his shoe at Bush during a Baghdad conference.
Despite the several layers of security through which Secret Service put
attendees, the unexpectedly low-tech assault weapon caught them off
guard. Both attempts of hitting the president failed, and while Iraqi
Prime Minister al Maliki and Secret Service tried protecting the
president, he waved them off. Damn, those Texans are fearless.
The now shoeless Muntathar al Zaidi, an employee of a Cairo television
station, was wrestled to the ground by another reporter and taken into
custody in his socks. Thousands of Shiite Muslims immediately hailed him
as a hero, marching the streets of the city with shoes on poles.
Anything beats another day of watching the goats wander the market
square, I guess.
The British newspaper the Times reported that, according to al
Zaidi’s brother, the “shoe man” has a broken arm and cuts on his face
following his second night in detention. Sigh. That’s what happens when
you run around in your socks in those slippery prisons. It’s worth
noting that in the Arab world, showing someone the sole of your shoe is
the highest insult, and has cost American negotiators at least one peace
Zaidi’s employer, Baghdadiya Television, did not apologize for the
incident but called for his immediate release. Likewise, Iraqi
journalist groups have called for Maliki, up for election next year, to
show clemency in light of the Shiite and Sunni Muslims who have united
in protesting al Zaidi’s incarceration. My enemy’s enemy is my friend
may not be the best foundation for a democratic society, but by now it
should not surprise us that Iraqis are willing to work with whatever
fate throws at them. (Pun unabashedly intended.)
Our lame-duck president gets less and less respect anywhere he goes
these days. Maybe he should take a month-long vacation. Starting
yesterday. He’s done more than enough. Maybe it’s time to go pick out
tile for the new Dallas abode. Ironically as Bush is passing on his job
responsibilities, al Zaidi may be taking on some new ones. A Lebanese
television station has offered him a job, with pay starting when “the
first shoe was thrown.” In case we needed further proof that being an
idiot can get you places, there you have it.
The incident is proof that human hatred and desperation will use any
means necessary and that disarmament, sanctions and
uranium-enrichment-watching are not nearly as important in peace
building as protecting human dignity and mutual respect. And that
someone at the Secret Service no longer has a job.
© 2008 North Star
Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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