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No Fear: Shoes For Bush As Arabs Cheer

Last night in an interview, my buddy Crane Durham at 97.1 FM TALK - St. Louis asked me on his Nothing But Truth program about the Iraqi shoe throwing incident with President Bush earlier that day. He was a bit frustrated that Iraqis do not show more gratitude for their liberty. My observation was essentially 'fair enough' so long as we are not ascribing the actions of one Iraqi journalist to any overarching representation of Iraqi or Iraqi government sentiments.

Here's the deal, as I put it to Crane last night: It is actually a pretty awesome display of political protest that Iraqis feel comfortable doing without fear of torture or death to themselves or their family.

Sure, the guy's going to end up with some jail sentence under Iraqi law for disrespecting a foreign head of state. But he won't be "disappeared" and his family members will not wake up one morning with missing limbs or digits.

Duane of the Hugh Hewitt radio show asked via Twitter if anyone could imagine if this had happened to or under Saddam Hussein. I replied back, with some measure of amusement, that we'd never know about it because the CNN Baghdad Bureau would never have reported such unflattering news.

All in all, it's a pretty remarkable incident if only for the relatively unremarkable consequences such political expression garners in the new Iraq.

One can even garner more quiet amusement (yes, amusement) from reading the headline in the International Herald Tribune: Across Mideast, Arabs hail shoe-hurling journalist.

Iraqis and other Arabs erupted in glee Monday at the shoe attack on George W. Bush. Far from a joke, many in the Mideast saw the act by an Iraqi journalist as heroic, expressing the deep, personal contempt many feel for the American leader they blame for years of bloodshed, chaos and the suffering of civilians.

Images of Bush ducking the fast-flying shoes at a Baghdad press conference, aired repeatedly on Arab satellite TV networks, were cathartic for many in the Middle East, who have for years felt their own leaders kowtow to the American president.

So the sight of an average Arab standing up and making a public show of resentment was stunning.

That may tick you off a bit. And perhaps understandably so. But you and I each know that those championing this Iraqi journalist would dare not themselves do anything even close to what he did toward their own leaders (or any other) within their own locales without fear of heavy-handed physical retribution. Imagine a Palestinian throwing a shoe at a Hamas or Fatah leader, or a Syrian throwing a shoe at Bashar al-Assad or their guest sharing the podium.

Imagine. Amusing that they champion someone who expresses what they dare not in their own locales.


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Comments (9)

I heard a comment years ago... (Below threshold)

I heard a comment years ago that comes to mind. I don't remember it exactly, but it was something like, "We conquered Germany and Japan to give them the freedom to hate America."

<a href="http://english.alj... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Free Bush shoe-thrower, Iraqis urge

"Thank God he had the guts to do it and avenge the Iraqi people and the country from those who plunder it and have killed its people."

I didn't know Lee Ward was ... (Below threshold)

I didn't know Lee Ward was covering the press conference for Wizbang Blue.

Haven't seen him over on th... (Below threshold)

Haven't seen him over on the Blue for a while - either he's stalking Sarah Palin or he got a good price on a ticket to Iraq...

The irony of this is if he ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

The irony of this is if he had tried anything like this to the leader of Iraq 6 years ago he may have lived long enough to regret his actions. A wonder that no news reporter sees fit to report this fact.

I wonder how long it will t... (Below threshold)

I wonder how long it will take for the average Arab now glorying in the act of this journalist to realize that there could hardly be anything more demonstrative of the difference between their own country and Iraq. I have the sense that it will indeed sink in sooner or later that such an act is a monumental testimony to Iraqi freedom from decades of fear and repression. It is difficult to imagine a more effective message than this picture flashing through the Arab community to bring home that truth.

So Adrian, you really have missed the deeper point of the whole event. But no one here at Wizbang will be surprised in the slightest at that.

Neither you nor I know what... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Neither you nor I know what will happen to this shoe-thrower. He's currently being "interogated" in an undisclosed location to find out "who paid him" to commit his act. It surely had nothing to do with the fact he had been twice arrested by US forces for doing his job, or that several of his family members have been killed in sectarian violence sparked by the US invasion. Nah. Wonder if the interrogation techniques will be "enhanced." We'll have to keep watching to see if any of the (surviving) members of his family disappear over the next few weeks. Wanna take bets?
Speaking of all that freedom of the press in Iraq, didja hear the one about the journalist who wrote the article about gay Iraqis? He was only sentenced to 2 years in prison for it! HawHaw!

The fact that throwing shoe... (Below threshold)

The fact that throwing shoes is considered serious protest in the Arab world just demonstrates the Juvenile mind set of this Society.

"The fact that throwing sho... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

"The fact that throwing shoes is considered serious protest in the Arab world just demonstrates the Juvenile mind set of this Society."

While dropping a 500 lb, depleted uranium-tipped bomb on someone is so Adult.






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