Monday, December 15, 2008

About that shoe thrower

This is from the New York Times:

An Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at President Bush and called him a dog became a huge celebrity in the Arab world and beyond on Monday, with many supporters exalting him for what they called a courageous act in the face of American arrogance about the war.

In Sadr City, the sprawling Baghdad suburb that has seen some of the most intense fighting between insurgents and American soldiers since the 2003 invasion, thousands of people marched in his defense. In Syria, he was hailed as a hero. In Libya, he was given an award for courage.

Mr. Zaidi, a correspondent for an independent Iraqi television station, Al-Baghdadia, remained in Iraqi custody on Monday. While he has not been formally charged, Iraqi officials said he faced up to seven years in prison if convicted of committing an act of aggression against a visiting head of state.

Hitting someone with a shoe is a deep insult in the Arab world, signifying that the person being struck is as low as the dirt underneath the sole of a shoe. Compounding the insult were Mr. Zaidi’s words as he hurled his footwear at President Bush: “This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog!” While calling someone a dog is never polite, among Arabs, who traditionally consider dogs unclean, the words were an even stronger slight.

NPR this morning said that the shoes were "tossed" at Bush. Nonsense. I saw the video. They were hurled.

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