Monday, December 15, 2008

This is a farewell kiss, Mr.Bush

If you want the facts, it's a size 10 shoe that he threw.
--George W.Bush

US President George Bush, who was on a surprise visit to Iraq, was in for a bit of surprise himself. An Iraqi journalist just thanked him with all his sole.

Muntadhar al-Zaiydi, a local television correspondent, in Prime Minister Nouri-al Maliki's palace threw his pair of shoes, one-by-one, at President Bush during a joint press conference with Maliki. The president quickly had to duck to avoid the shoes, while Maliki stretched out his right hand to try to catch the second one. Neither leader was hit. As he threw the shoes the man, Zaiyadi yelled "This is a farewell kiss, dog!" and, "This is the end!". It may be noted that just over 5 weeks remain before Dubya hands over the Presidency to Barack Obama.

Displaying the soles of shoes or throwing shoes is not polite behavior anywhere, but in much of the Arab world the shoe is used as a special tool of insult or affront. Before the Iraq war, Saddam Hussein had a mosaic of former President George H.W. Bush on the ground at the entrance to the main foreign hotel in Baghdad, the Al-Rashid. You had to step on Bush's face to get in.

Right after the fall of Saddam, men beat his ubiquitous posters with their shoes.

Mr Zaidi, a correspondent for Cairo-based al-Baghdadiya TV, was then wrestled to the ground by security personnel and hauled away.

Bush, who reacted spryly as he saw his assailant winding up, joked about the incident, saying, "That was a size 10 shoe he threw at me, you may want you to know. "

As security grabbed the man, White House press secretary Dana Perino got knocked beneath her eye by a microphone and ended up with a small shiner.

After order had been restored to the room, the man could still be heard screaming from another room. Al-Baghdadiya's bureau chief told the Associated Press that he had no idea what prompted Mr Zaidi to attack President Bush, although reports say he was once kidnapped by a militia and beaten up.

Shrugging, Bush said, "So what if the guy threw his shoe at me?"

"It's one way to gain attention," he said. "It's like going to a political rally and having people yell at you. It's like driving down the street and having people not gesturing with all five fingers."

I don't know what you think about Zaiydi, but I'm a fan.


Kaber said...

ha ha .. thanks for the video .. but you have to hand it to Bush though he had the presence of mind to quip about the shoe size

rubs said...

the real farewell would hav been if it had striked his face with all its sole!!

Saket said...

The latest buzz after this incident. A few games websites have launched games where you are to hit shoes at Bush to earn points. Well, now we can all be Zaiyadi if at least in virtual world.