A short meditation on throwing shoes.

(11:00PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

My roomie was crowing about the Iraq shoe thrower.

“I don’t wanna hear it” I said.


“Because he’s lying in a prison cell being beaten to death for insulting King Bush, and it makes me sick, and it makes me sad, and I don’t want to think about it right now.”

But, eh, I have work to do, which means I need distraction, which means I ended up checking out the latimes piece on him.  ( http://www.latimes.com/news/na… )

“This is a gift from the Iraqis. This is the farewell kiss, you dog,” he is reported to have said.

And, with the other shoe, “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq,”

It probably costs this man his life, to have done this.  What does it mean, in our little pot of outrage and anger and paranoid bullshit conspiracy theories, to yell at power, to go down in a heap and die in your own piss and blood for nothing more than that yell?  

His name – the only name I have found so far – was Zadi.  

We’ve killed maybe a million human beings.  Our new president isn’t going to stop this, he’s just going to politely wind it down so we can do more of the same in a nearby country.  Because it is business, because Americans are out of work, because it is how things are.  As I grew up the holocaust was described as the defining moral event of our era: six million in the ovens.  I cannot quite imagine the distance between one and six million.

But I can imagine complicity.  I have thrown no shoes.  And I am ashamed.

[addenda: since NPK saw fit to promote this in the front page rotation, a quick note.  This was written shortly after the news came out.  Obviously he’s not dead, though his brother says he’s been effectively tortured, with a broken arm, possibly a broken hand, internal bleeding.  Bush has said it is “up to Iraq” how he will be punished.  And it has captured the world’s attention in a stunning way, and served as a catalyst to a lot of people’s feelings about the American empire and the strutting popinjay about to leave the stage (no comment yet on the staid, hopeful guy, who unfortunately will be running…the same empire).  Anyway, if you’re one of five people in the world who hasn’t googled “shoe thrower” yet, you can find all the above, and lots more, in the feed…

I still think the salient and interesting thing about this is that it was essentially an act of civil disobedience, of resistance, someone standing up and taking it on the chin, setting their life on fire, rather than obeying propriety, conforming to expectation, and allowing a stone cold monster — one who expressed the wishes and desires of a great many Americans — to take a bow. ]


Skip to comment form

    • jessical on December 15, 2008 at 6:04 am

    …even when the revolution will never come.

    • Robyn on December 15, 2008 at 6:13 am

    …led to us all having to remove our shoes when we borad airplanes.

    I’m wondering if now they will just outlaw shoes as being dangerous weapons.

    • pfiore8 on December 15, 2008 at 11:20 am

    where that leads us, if it takes us anywhere, is perhaps a lingering question.

    but this guy… throwing his shoes… i applaud him.  i thought he must be somebody to be able to be in that audience…

    and i’m not so sure he’ll be killed for this.

    let’s see how this ripples. but i saw it last night and i liked it.

  1. Same as the “no handshake” thing. It’s classic Rovian BS, designed to get all the bloggers focused on it and distracted from something else that’s more important.

    I mean, come on. Look at the screen capture. One second after the first shoe (and how did they know it was a shoe?) was thrown, they’re trying not to LAUGH. There’s no way they would find this funny unless they knew about it ahead of time.

  2. if any of us thought throwing shoes would have stopped the death and destruction – there’s alot of us that would be going barefoot. As a “statement,” its not a bad move in the Arab world, but in this country it would have been an empty gesture whose only outcome would be to land the thrower in jail.

    I think the reason most of us haven’t done more is that we haven’t come up with the “sweet spot” yet that would really have an impact. I personally am not into empty gestures where I’m the only one affected.  

  3. From United for Peace and Justice:

    You can join the growing international call for the release of al-Zaidi! Click here to sign a petition: http://www.iraqsnuclearmirage….

    By now, you’ve all seen the footage of the Iraqi journalist hurling his shoes at George W. Bush during a press conference in Baghdad this past Sunday. Click here to see a YouTube video of the event.

    What has not been so widely reported are the words Muntadar al-Zaidi, a correspondent for Cairo-based al-Baghdadiya TV, shouted out. As the first shoe was thrown at Bush, he said: “This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog.” And with his second shoe, which the president also dodged,  al-Zaidi said: “This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq.”

    This bold statement also has to be understood in its cultural context. Showing the soles of your shoes to someone, let alone tossing your shoes at them, is a sign of contempt in Arab culture.

    After throwing his shoes, al-Zaidi was wrestled to the ground by security personnel and hauled away. According to Democracy Now! this morning, “Muntadar al-Zaidi has been held without charge for over twenty-four hours and has been reportedly beaten in jail. His brother said al-Zaidi has suffered a broken hand, broken ribs and internal bleeding, as well as an eye injury. Earlier today, al-Zaidi was handed over to the Iraqi military command in Baghdad.”

    We urge you to join the growing international call for the release of al-Zaidi! Click here to sign a petition: http://www.iraqsnuclearmirage….

Comments have been disabled.