Friday, December 04, 2009

Iraqi shoe-thrower gets shoe thrown at him (Al Arabiya/AFP)

According to this news item from the Saudi-owned, Dubai-based Al Arabiya news channel:
An Arabic-speaking man on Tuesday hurled a shoe at the Iraqi journalist who one year earlier had thrown shoes at former U.S. president George W. Bush.

Introducing himself in Arabic as an Iraqi journalist-in-exile at a Paris news conference, the attacker made a brief speech accusing Muntazer al-Zaidi of working for dictatorship and then shouted "here's another shoe for you."

The shoe was thrown hard, but Zaidi dodged it and it hit a curtain behind the speakers. [....]

The man was set upon by Zaidi's brother who slapped him and there was a brief struggle. [....]
Actually, Zaidi's brother also tried to bash the shoe-thrower ... with his shoe. You can see video clips here & here & here

As best I can tell, it remains unclear who this retaliatory shoe-thrower is, whether or not he actually is a journalist, etc. It makes sense that he would be an Iraqi, since hatred for Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath regime is something shared by the vast majority of Iraqis, but not by most non-Iraqi Arabs.

It does seem to be true that the original shoe-thrower, Muntazer (or Muntander, or Muntander) al-Zaidi, had Ba'athist connections before 2003 and was once head of the national student union under Saddam Hussein. Then again, before 2003 anyone in Iraq who wanted any sort of professional success (and wanted to avoid getting killed) had to collaborate with the Ba'ath regime to one extent or another. I don't know how deep al-Zaidi's Ba'athist sympathies were or have have been before or after 2003. But did he deserve to have another Iraqi throw a shoe at him? It's hard not to feel that he did.

--Jeff Weintraub

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Al Arabiya / Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Iraqi shoe-thrower gets shoe thrown at him
Zaidi's brother slaps attacker at Paris news conference












PARIS (Al Arabiya, AFP). An Arabic-speaking man on Tuesday hurled a shoe at the Iraqi journalist who one year earlier had thrown shoes at former U.S. president George W. Bush.

Introducing himself in Arabic as an Iraqi journalist-in-exile at a Paris news conference, the attacker made a brief speech accusing Muntazer al-Zaidi of working for dictatorship and then shouted "here's another shoe for you."

The shoe was thrown hard, but Zaidi dodged it and it hit a curtain behind the speakers.

"When I used this method it was against the occupation. I did not use it against a compatriot," said Zaidi.

The man was set upon by Zaidi's brother who slapped him and there was a brief struggle.

Zaidi spent around nine months behind bars after shouting "it is the farewell kiss, you dog", seconds before hurling his size-10s at the man who ordered Iraq be invaded and occupied.

Although Bush, who successfully ducked to avoid the speeding footwear, laughed off the attack, the incident caused massive embarrassment, to both him and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The leaders had been speaking at a joint press conference in Baghdad on what was Bush's farewell visit to Iraq prior to being succeeded in office by then president-elect Barack Obama.

The reporter was initially sentenced to three years for assaulting a foreign head of state but had his jail time reduced to one year on appeal. His sentence was cut further on account of good behavior.

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