The Shoes Thrown Around The World

One could only bet that out-going American leader George W. Bush was going to have one of his saccharine, superficial photo-op events propping up his legacy without incident. However, he got a surprise Sunday morning in Iraq. An Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at the 43rd President. He then proceeded to give Mr. Bush a piece of his mind.

As told in the Los Angeles Times:

“This is a gift from the Iraqis. This is the farewell kiss, you dog,” the man said, according to a pool translation.

Seconds later, the journalist hurled his other shoe with similar precision as another Iraqi journalist reached over in an attempt to stop him. “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq,” he said.

What was especially off-putting is Mr. Bush’s response to the incident. With his usual frat boy smirk and swagger, he could only retort the way a spoiled scion of entitlement would do:

“All I can report is it is a size 10,” he said jokingly.

“So what if a guy threw his shoe at me,” the president added, dismissing it as “one way to gain attention.”

Mr. Bush’s nonchalance is rather revealing when looking at the profound nature of what Muntader Zaidi did. When he hurled those shoes at the podium, he was in essence showing his disgust and revulsion at the superficiality and horror of what has happened since the U.S. first occupied Iraq five years ago. Who wouldn’t be quite upset with the “shock and awe” starting off such atrocities?

The American people have a long memory when it comes to the handiwork of the United States government and the Iraqi War. The Bush Administration’s constant referral of the civilians caught in the crossfire as “collateral damage” reflected insincerity and ruthlessness which cannot be swept under the rug. When it comes to the Iraqi people who are displaced, tortured, wounded, terrorized and killed by conflict everyday, the anger against what Mr. Bush and his cronies did in Iraq is justified.

That is why the shoes “thrown around the world”, mean more than just an expression of contempt during a press conference. The hurling of the shoes in Middle Eastern culture, is synonymous with giving someone the “one finger salute” in American life. It is the ultimate F. U. to a man who by his mere record and presence represents the dark side of American policy and history.

In essence, Mr. Zaidi’s demonstration depicted the pent up frustration quietly rising since the beginning of the Iraqi War. His sentiment did publicly what a lot of folks would dream of doing privately: to give Mr. Bush our derision and indignation over five years of senseless conflict. The Iraqi journalist’s anger is indicative of a whole lot of us who are sick and tired of the toll this war has taken on not only Iraq, but the rest of the world.

Enough is enough. Something’s got to change.

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