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In the less than 48 hours that have passed since an Iraqi journalist threw both his shoes ( one after another) at the visiting President Bush, during a short press conference in Iraq, a whole industry has sprung up around the ‘shoegate’.
The cartoons were the first to take off.Hundreds of brilliant ones are already available on the net.I post one here as a sample:


This is from the site: http://politicalhumor.about.com/od/bushcartoons/ig/Bush-Cartoons/Flying-Shoes.htm
Have a look and enjoy other cartoons on this incident.

On the internet there are new games referring to Bush ‘bootcamp’, that require players to throw shoes at cut-outs of the President to get points.No prizes for guessing what gets you the bullseye score…….a smack bang hit in his face, what else? Some jokes say shoe manufacturers are offering a lifetime’s supply of shoes to anyone emulating Al-Zaidi’s feat.

T-shirts and mugs are next in line.Some T-shirts are already out bearing images of the actual incident with Bush ducking and some sport  the cartoon versions of the same.

The usually placid Arab street that  never comes out to protest anythng strongly except maybe the publication of the cartoons in Denmark or some other real or perceived insult to THE religion, is out in jubiliation hailing the journo Al-Zaidi as an Arab hero.(God help a people whose hero is a shoe thrower!)

Now a Libyan charity has decided to bestow an official honor and a medal on the journo for his act of ‘bravery.’
(Says a lot about the concept of heroism in these parts,doesn’t it?)

A Saudi man is offering $10 million for the shoes that Al-Zaidi threw at President Bush.He says he is ready to sell off all his properties and busineses to buy up these shoes that he describe as “medal of freedom”.Hassan Mohammed Makhafa’s fellow tribesmen also support his move and are ready to pitch in with money.If successful in getting the shoes he wants to keep them in a palce that would become a shrine to these

‘symbols of freedom.’

Hugo Chavez, the Bush hating Venezuelan president, who never loses an opportunity of Bush bashing has also called the act ‘courageous’.

The Arabs, with all their money power, have never really done anything seriously helpful for the Iraqi or the Palestinian causes except keep their news on the front pages of the national dailies to keep their own local junta distracted from the issues at home but they become heroes of protest when all it requires of them is to insult USA or Israel via some flag burning or some effigy burning. Now ofcourse they can add shoe throwing to their “frightening’ arsenal of protest. Business should improve for shoe companies.

I  also think that the act of this lone journalist is brave but I also feel that only the Iraqis can claim him as a hero.It is their suffering and their frustration that this man’s act symbolises.Ever since the ill-fated invasion of Iraq on the faulty( or fabricated) intelligence of weapon’s of mass destruction, it is the people of Iraq who have paid a price in absolutely horrifying amounts.That they were repressed under Saddam is not contestable but they did not ask for this ‘liberation’ that has meant hundreds of thousands dead, millions displaced internally and externally,the country in tatters, with Al-Qaeda and Iranians busy furthering their agendas on its soil and no hope of peace in the forseeable future.

The rest of the Arab and Muslim world can just enjoy the piggy back ride on this man’s act and exchange funny sms jokes and cartoons and give awards but morally they have no right to the significance of this incident.
For the Iraqis the significance of this act of defiance is similar to that of the Chinese man who stood alone in front of an advancing tank of the People’s Liberation Army in Tianamen Square.

Muntadar Al- Zaidi may or may not get any punishment for this act of his but the deed has been done and will go down in history in all its visual detail. The joke industry will derive ‘masala’ f rom this for years to come.The one positive to come out of it has been that Bush, very belatedly, at the end of his blighted Presidency has suddenly been declared ‘articulate’ and intelligent’ for the comments he made in reaction to the leathery missiles hurled at him. The word lame duck presidency has taken on a totally new meaning with Bush’s expert ducking of both the shoes!

Also all those rubbing their hands in glee at having seen Bush humiliated, Bush had a point when he said this is what free societies are all about.Would any man have lived to tell the story had he hurled a shoe at Saddam Hussein? There’s a thought!

And Bush has learnt a lesson on how dangerous it can be to go in on the basis of faulty intelligence…….you see he was not sufficiently warned about the existence of shoes of mass destruction lurking in the secure Green zone of Baghdad.( From the Gulf News editorial) 

Personally, I wonder if this act of a lone Iraqi will mean that all press conferences world wide will have to declared shoe-free areas before any spin doctors can take the stage. That  the well heeled of the world may all be forced to go shoeless in future might end up being the unintended consequence of this Iraqi born jootagiri.

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