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Monday, December 15, 2008

Of Shoes And People That Are Missing The Point

It's been the hot story for the past day, the Iraqi journalist that threw both his shoes at soon to be former President George W. Bush.

Just in case you'd like to see it again, here it is:

So, who is this journalist who buys his ammunition at Foot Locker?

Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi, a reporter with Cairo-based network Al Baghdadia Television, had experienced first-hand the brutal violence that consumed Iraq last year.....Zaidi, colleagues said, was kidnapped by Shiite militiamen last year and was later released.

Considering the fact that Bush is a person that isn't viewed as the Iraqi liberator that he most likely fancies himself as, this is almost an expected incident. He's leaving office in a little over 30 days and he decides to make one last "suprise visit".

Predictably, conservative bloggers and pundits are frothing at the mouth and shouting "what if it was a bomb?!?!?!?!". To this I would ask them to exercise even a modest amount of intelligence.

First off, this is taking place well within the "Green Zone". It's in a press conference room where there are certainly more security that you aren't seeing within the shot of Bush and AL Maliki.

Secondly, did you notice the look on Bush's face? It's a pretty safe bet that he knows it's a non-lethal weapon and - once the second shoe takes flight - he probably realizes that it is, in fact, a shoe. He even waves-off the Secret Service agent that comes up to him.

You can read the full account here.

Considering that fact that throwing ones shoe at a person has more cultural significance in Iraqi culture than we might be able to understand, this particular incident has a much broader meaning.

Here we have an Iraqi journalist - one that has been kidnapped and had to deal intimately with the horrors of Iraq every day - that has been widely ignored by the President and by the American media at large. Being of a very passionate culture, what would one expect him to do?

To Muntadar al-Zaidi, this was a moment of pure emotion. It was his own powerful, symbolic jesture toward the man that is the face of the American occupation of Iraq. He has nothing to do with the "liberal press" that some conservatives shout about.

An unhinged Iraqi journalist fulfills the dream of every MSNBC anchor and NYTimes editorial columnist by throwing his shoes at President Bush during an impromptu news conference in Baghdad.

For what it's worth - and just because my brain works this way - it should be noted that NIKE is the goddess fo "victory".

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