President George Bush was in Baghdad Sunday holding a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki when an Iraqi journalist hurled two shoes at Bush – a sign of contempt in Iraqi culture.
How ironic that an Iraqi should throw his shoes at the very man who provided him the freedom to do so.
“Shoeless Joe” Muntadar al-Zeidi, the Iraqi shoe pitcher, was only 12 feet from Bush when he leapt to his feet shouting, “This is a farewell kiss, dog,” and threw the first shoe at Bush. Bush ducked and the shoe hit the American and Iraqi flags draped together as a backstop. Zeidi managed to hurl a second shoe at Bush, which also missed, before Iraqi security agents wrestled him first to the ground then out of the press conference room.
Bush was not injured and brushed off the incident. Questioned by reporters, Bush said, “All I can report is it is a size 10.”
As word of the failed shoe attack spread, supporters of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for protests against President Bush. Thousands of freedom-loving Iraqis took to the streets in the Shiite slum of Sadr City chanting, “Bush, Bush, listen well: Two shoes on your head.”
Not quite as rhythmical and catchy as say, “Bush lied, Soldiers died,” but give the Iraqis time. They’re new to this game of protesting and demonstrating. As most Iraqis and and a few Americans recall, the former Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, known intimately as “The Butcher of Baghdad,” did not put up with such nonsense. If “Shoeless Joe” al-Zeidi had tried that with Hussein, his severed head and the heads of his family would have been prominently displayed in the town square as a lesson in civil disobedience.