Monday, December 15, 2008

al-Zaidi is my new hero

My new hero is Muntadhar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi man who threw his shoes at President Bush this past weekend. In Arab cultures, throwing shoes or pointing the bottom of your shoe soles towards someone is an ultimate sign of contempt.

According to CNN:

Muntadhar al-Zaidi's feelings were influenced by watching the agony suffered by everyday Iraqis. Most of the reporter's stories focused on Iraqi widows, orphans, and children, said the brother.

Sometimes the 29-year-old journalist would cry. Moved by the tales he reported of poor families, he sometimes asked his colleagues to give money to them. On most nights, he returned to his home in central Baghdad -- one of the country's most violent slums and the epicenter of several of the war's pitched battles.

He's now been arrested and is still being held. How's that for a free society? As much as I could possibly try, I have no idea how al-Zaidi feels. I'll never be able to understand what it's like to be an Iraqi in occupied Iraq, so as much as I want to be able to understand, I can't. However, I fully support his demonstration of dissent and want to show my support somehow.

After hearing of the event, my roommate said to me, "Poor guy. Poor, poor, poor guy. We should buy him another pair of shoes."

Sometimes, at the end of the day, throwing shoes is all you can do.

12 comments:

FEMily! said...

Calling someone an old shoe is also highly insulting in Arab cultures. George W. Bush is definitely an old shoe.

I have a lot of empathy for al-Zaidi. I can't even feel bad that Bush was subjected to that attempted assault. And I feel sort of bad for not feeling bad.

Anonymous said...

So, someone assaulting another person is your hero?

I don't care how much you dislike Bush, physical assault is not the way to show it.

Supporting the use of any form of violence is not only ignorant, but highly hypocritical.

If someone disliked a feminist speaker, and threw shoes at her, would you support that, or say it was sexist and bad?

Anonymous said...

Oh, and as far as your complaint for him being arrested somehow inferring that it's not a free society...

HE ASSAULTED THE LEADER OF ANOTHER NATION.

Explain to me why you think "free society" means "free to commit assault against the leader of a nation"?

Like I said, I don't care if you don't like the man, but that doesn't give you the right to use violence.

Yes, it was just a shoe, but it doesn't matter, it's still assault.

Anonymous said...

Careful who you call your Hero. If this guy had his way you probably wouldn't be blogging. Sometimes the enemy of your enemy is a even worse.

Amelia said...

So far I have rejected two comments on this post because of direct insults to the post's author. That will not be tolerated. If anyone of the rejected commenters cares to re-word their sentiments, perhaps they will get their comment through moderation.

Thanks.

Amelia said...

When I heard about this story, my reaction went something like this: 1) "hahahaha no way!" 2) "hmmm...he just threw his shoes at my president." 3) "What? Bush was trying to do a back-pat job over there? Trying to prove what a good idea the war was, what good we've done for Iraq? Excuse me???"

Right now I am still somewhere in part 3. It's disgusting to me how Bush and people around him are STILL trying to rewrite his horrible presidency for the history books, to make something shiny and nice out of a bundle of awful mistakes. That's what he was doing in Iraq when the shoes were thrown at him, and although I think I disagree with al-Zaidi's methodology in expressing his rightful dissent, I completely support the idea of Iraqis being able to publicly show their disapproval of American policies, etc.

But even then, I think that throwing a shoe from a distance is not the same as throwing a punch up close or shooting a gun at President Bush.

Overall, I think I support him, but I am not completely sure yet. Hmm...

Mike said...

Amelia,

I read your comment on my blog. Actually, I was not one of the rejected comments. I was not going to comment at all until your post on my blog, but here I am. While I very highly diagree with everything the post author put in this post, I would not personally insult someone no matter how absolutely far off base they are. So please rest assured that it was not me. And for crying out loud, GIVE ME MY GOOD NAME BACK!! (j/k).

But one point I mentioned in my post on my blog is that the fact that he merely got arrested and is being held is a very positive sign on how far Iraq has come. Because had he done something that utterly moronic 6 years ago, it would have been no more than 5 minutes that his brains would have been splattered all over the wall along with any of his family members.

And if someone wants to dissent, more power to 'em. But attempting to assault a foreign dignitary, much less anyone at all is, by law, criminal. Even in the most free of countries, the assaulter would be arrested and held and most likely face jail time.

Adham AL-Shathili said...

i disagree about al-zaidi bieng a coward for many reasons: he's action was natural reflex when he saw his country is occupied and thousnds of civilians was killed in cold blood. puting aside the killing of many journalists in iraq by us soldiers.

I belive the real cowrds are those who couldn't understand the meanning of liberty and remaking what saddam did in his ruling days and much worse by breaking the hands and ribs of a protester journalist and toturing him right now in prison.

in the video the moment they caught him you can hear him shouting in agonizing pain.
where are thous promised human rights???

lindsay said...

He's my hero because he's standing up for his opinion and for his people. While I'm not a proponent of violence, I don't think that Bush was in any real danger. That doesn't mean it's right to throw the shoe, but when it's virtually impossible to show disapproval in a manner that will make the person realize it, he took the only means necessary.

In my opinion, the real potential for hurt wasn't that President Bush could have gotten hurt from the shoe, but that it was a cultural insult which he probably didn't even understand.

I support al-Zaidi for showing his anger and dissent in the only way he knew how - and isn't it lucky it wasn't with a weapon.

Anonymous said...

But even then, I think that throwing a shoe from a distance is not the same as throwing a punch up close or shooting a gun at President Bush.

This is also a bad argument.

"I only slapped my wife, it's not the same as punching her or shooting her!"

Violence is still violence, and it shouldn't be used to solve problems.

Supporting this makes you no different than someone who thinks it's okay to beat women.

Amelia said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for wrongly assuming that my argument means I support men who beat women/their wives. You are wrong.

al-Zaidi was expressing his lack of support for America/American policies and his frustrations over the suffering of Iraqis. It was a political statement.

Beating one's wive is nothing more than a man using physical violence to display his dominance over a woman. It has nothing to do with legitimate political complaints, and much more to do with the issues of men who feel the urge to dominate.

Again, you were very wrong.

Anonymous said...

Amelia, you are very wrong.

You're justifying something, much like a wife-beater, with terms that are meaningless.

"Oh, it's a political statement, that makes it okay!".

No. It doesn't. He assaulted a foreign dignitary, the leader of an entire nation.

This is a criminal act. Period.

Attempting to justify it is pointless.

I never said you supported violence against women, I simply said supporting violence in such a way makes you no different.