Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

Iraqi shoe-thrower gets 3 years in jail

March 12, 2009

30 year old Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the Iraqi journalist who rose to notoriety and fame for interrupting a Bush-Maliki conference in Baghdad in December 2008 has been sentenced to 3 years in jail on Thursday, March 12, 2009. He went on a shoe-throwing rampage which targeted, but missed visiting US president George W. Bush.

Swearing innocence to the charge of assault he said, “what I did was a natural response to the occupation,” referring to the US-led Iraq war against Saddam Hussein. For violating journalistic ethics and endangering the life of a dignitary, al Zeidi got the minimum sentence (max.15 years) to the charge which he can appeal. Upon hearing the sentence, some of al Zeidi’s relative’s fainted.

In a world where the boundary between right and wrong is often disputed, many in the Muslim world who laud the journalist’s action was disappointed with the verdict. Others who look at his misplaced display of anger and think of the assault as an immature tantrum think the sentence serves him right. =0=

Iraq unveils a shoe monument

January 30, 2009

We can forget Imelda Marcos’ shoes for a while. Iraqis are still elated and angered by the shoe thrown at Pres. George W. Bush and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki last December 2008 by journalist Muntadhir al-Zaidi. A brown shoe sculpture seems a funny retaliation by a culturally sequestered people who appreciate al-Zaidi and boil mad on the former US president even if they have been liberated from Saddam Hussein’s tyrannical rule.

Surely, the Iraqis have strong reasons to be mad. The cost of war is high in places of ethnic strife and tribal clashes. Many human lives have senselessly been lost in the name of freedom. 5.1 million people were displaced and about an equal number of children were left without parents.

To vent their anger and send praises for the jailed shoe-thrower who dreams of getting an asylum status in Switzerland, Iraqis and children from the Tikrit Orphanage helped sculptor Laith al-Amiri make a symbolic shoe monument. A brown footware with a raggedly brown surface was mounted on a white cloth so the people could see and ponder.

Whatever thrill one gets in looking at the oversized shoe, the use of children to make a political point is disturbing. There is negatism and darkness young minds can’t miss when they see the controversial shoe. The footware is less likely a symbol of disrespect and misplaced rage, but more a reminder of the derision the Muslims have for USA and Pres. George W. Bush.

Lacking gratitude after being saved from Saddam’s terroristic regime, some Iraqis have taken the low road of the warring militants who succeed in teaching generation(s) of children on selective memory and tough love. The faith-based beliefs against the “infidels” are still the driving force of hatred against the Western civilization. There are those who have become one-track thinkers— intolerant, violent, self-righteous, and unforgiving in their political views. This is one reason why the culture of violence kills the innocents. And peace is so elusive in that part of the world. (Photo Credit: CNN) 0=

UPDATE: Feb. 1, 2009. Iraqi officials ordered the dismantling of the shoe monument in the Tikrit Orphanage. They say government facilities must not be used as a venue to air political views.

Shoes versus Pres. George W. Bush, pelting eggs on a Romanian leader & a pepper spray for a Manila socialite

December 23, 2008

There is always something to laugh about or be concerned for when we read that a head of state like President George W. Bush got shoes thrown on his face by a hateful angry Iraqi. The outgoing US president has been blamed for almost anything that has gone wrong—-from the war Afghanistan, the economy, business, and social security. On his last visit to Iraq, he got insolent treatment.

The journalist who threw the shoes has been charged for endangering the life of a head-of-state. Since December 14, 2008, Muntadhar al-Zeidi complains of having been rough-handled and beaten by authorities. According to his brother, the apology he made for the crime was forced; he liked doing it again to the delight of his supporters.

Shoe-throwing-by Filipinos

The shoe-throwing incident in Baghdad had mixed reception in all cultures of the world. Many took it as a prank worthy of a loud laugh. The intelligence community thought of it as a security breach, an insult to visiting dignitaries. Overseas Filipinos (OFW’s) took the event as an occasion to display their own displeasure of Gloria M. Arroyo (GMA,) the president whose administration had been bugged by rising scandalous corruption. They too pulled angry shoe-throwing displays, making GMA’s photos as the apt target.

Egg-throwing in Romania

In the ceremony marking the people revolution of 1989, irate Romanians pushed, jeered, and pelted eggs on Ion Iliescu, the leader who replaced Nicolae Ceausescu. The latter was Romanian’s dreaded communist dictator who was violently ousted and executed in an uprising two decades ago.

A three-time elected leader of Bucharest, Iliescu was blamed for failing to go into the bottom of the deaths of more than 1,000 people during his predecessor’s bloody regime. A 79-year old aggrieved man who lost a son was arrested for throwing eggs.

Pepper-Spray Scandal in Manila

A brawl of two flashy socialites resulted to eye injuries which led Neny Montinola to visit the emergency room of a swanky hospital in the Philippines. According to reports, at a party in the “Embassy,” in November, Patricia Panilio-Cu-Unjieng, a Filipina of alleged upscale breed and wealth, angrily pumped pepper-sprays on her rival’s face to vent rage—at the acme of her “jealousy.’

Controversies which passed the ears of their patrons ensued until the two women decided to end their catty dispute. They chose to bury the scandal’s dagger in the spirit of Christmas. Supposedly bred in some exclusive schools in Manila, the two war-weary ladies reconciled. A public apology was reportedly issued, though no one seemed to have paid attention. The people of the country were too focused in their own mundane concerns.

THE AFTER-THOUGHT

This is the world we are in. People can just attack someone without thinking of the consequences. Anyone can make an apology whose sincerity is up for questions. Whether they are justified in their actions isn’t much of an importance. Violence in whatever form must not be condoned.

We better watch out. There are legitimate ways to protest and redress wrongs in civilized cultures. But it appears the avenues to get justice are threatened by the fraying of ethical traditions and the warping of our own moral beliefs. (Photo Credits: http://www.ChinaDaily.com; http://lakwatsera1.com; Luky-luke; Bo Madsen=0=

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