The Iraqi Shoe Thrower Speaks


Before Joe Wilson yelled at the President there was Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi who threw a shoe at President Bush (who it must be said demonstrated some quick reflexes!) last fall at a press conference in Baghdad to protest America’s presence in Iraq. al-Zaidi was released from Iraqi jail last week, where he claimed to have been tortured, and today explains himself in the Guardian. al-Zaidi, for those of you not aware, was actually a journalist before he was a shoe-thrower.

When I threw the shoe in the face of the criminal, George Bush, I wanted to express my rejection of his lies, his occupation of my country, my rejection of his killing my people. My rejection of his plundering the wealth of my country, and destroying its infrastructure. And casting out its sons into a diaspora.

If I have wronged journalism without intention, because of the professional embarrassment I caused the establishment, I apologise. All that I meant to do was express with a living conscience the feelings of a citizen who sees his homeland desecrated every day. The professionalism mourned by some under the auspices of the occupation should not have a voice louder than the voice of patriotism. And if patriotism needs to speak out, then professionalism should be allied with it.

I didn’t do this so my name would enter history or for material gains. All I wanted was to defend my country.

Back in this country, one might argue a little less journalistic “expression” might do the industry and the nation some good. Here’s the video should you have missed the first time around.

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