When Iraqi journalist Muntadhir al-Zaidi threw his shoes at George Bush during a press conference at his surprise visit to Iraq, Bush and US haters and detractors had a field day. I myself had spasms of laughter when I learned about it on the Net. But thinking about it more seriously the problem I saw was that it trivialized the issue of US’ illegal occupation of Iraq. Now, this is not to demean Muntadhir al-Zaidi’s courage, who is probably the most popular man now in Iraq (must be because Iraqis didn’t accept the US’ occupation from Day One).
Bush might be leaving office soon and there are talks (arrogant, I say) of how the US occupation and administration of Iraq will change or not change during Obama’s presidency. But for me whatever the US do it will not change the fact that they are occupying and administering Iraq illegally without any legal authority and in complete defiance of international laws and the UN and of world opinion. So I cannot agree to some US voices that say that the shoe-throwing incident disrespected Bush. I say he even deserved far worse than that.
Iraq’s representation in the UN should be suspended for the time being because it is not a free and independent country. In the earlier days a country like Iraq now is called a protectorate. And protectorates are not treated as independent countries. And only so-called independent countries are deemed qualified to be admitted to the UN.
Muntadhir al-Zaidi should be released immediately. His case is just a lese majeste offense which has no place in modern society. Detain and charge him only if the shoes he threw contained live grenades.