Archive for the ‘Muntadhir al-Zaidi’ 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.

Muntadhir’s Shoes, Lese Majeste And The Illegal Occupation of Iraq

December 24, 2008

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.