The shoe as political statement was heard round the world. It is an absurd gesture, but sums up how so many of us feel about the man. In Iraq, the message is stronger, that you are only worth the bottom of the shoe.
The Iraqi journalist, Muntader al-Zaidi, 28, a correspondent for Al Baghdadia, an independent Iraqi television station, stood up about 12 feet from Mr. Bush and shouted in Arabic: “This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog!” He then threw a shoe at Mr. Bush, who ducked and narrowly avoided it.
As stunned security agents and guards, officials and journalists watched, Mr. Zaidi then threw his other shoe, shouting in Arabic, “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq!” That shoe also narrowly missed Mr. Bush as Prime Minister Maliki stuck a hand in front of the president’s face to help shield him.
This is when you might expect applause, a heavy boot or a nice stiletto, but sadly no.
Mr. Maliki’s security agents jumped on the man, wrestled him to the floor and hustled him out of the room. They kicked him and beat him until “he was crying like a woman,” said Mohammed Taher, a reporter for Afaq, a television station owned by the Dawa Party, which is led by Mr. Maliki. Mr. Zaidi was then detained on unspecified charges.
Other Iraqi journalists in the front row apologized to Mr. Bush, who was uninjured and tried to brush off the incident by making a joke. “All I can report is it is a size 10,” he said, continuing to take questions and noting the apologies. He also called the incident a sign of democracy, saying, “That’s what people do in a free society, draw attention to themselves,” as the man’s screaming could be heard outside.
Yes W, but in “our” kind of democracy, we don’t usually take people from the room and kick the shit out of them for expressing that need for attention. (We give them a book deal or a TV show.) Bush Press Secretary Dana Perino ended up with a black eye. Seems no matter what he does, Bush brings harm to those around him and he himself remains blissfully ignorant of what he has brought to the party.
If I had excess shoes though, now might be a nice time to send them to the White House. I suggest that in the final days of the Presidency, every true patriot send a shoe or two to W, just to let him know how we in this country feel as well.