“This is a gift from the Iraqis. This is a farewell kiss, you dog! … This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.”
There is a lot to say about these shoes, and the gusto of Muntazir Az-Zaydi. It’s a subject that will get play in the press for weeks now – I mean the Arabic press. Az-Zaydi is a celebrity now, a folk hero for online video and satellite news. American media will report ad nauseam in clear and simple English just how offensive shoe throwing is in “Arab or Muslim or Islamic culture.” They will try and delve into the cultural significance of all this, and only look more and more like out-of-touch asses oggling at the others for standing up and throwing something at Bush. The Angry Arab is having a field day — is there a better Eid present? or early Christmas gift? — and if you want to laugh and read all the compliled cultural analysis on the meaning of a shoe in the Middle East and see how it is properly lambasted, click there.
Seriously, let’s hope Az-Zaydi is released very soon.
It wasn’t clear whether Zaidi was hurt. His employer, Cairo-based Baghdadiyah Television, released a statement late Sunday demanding Zaidi’s release from Iraqi custody.
“Any action taken against Muntathar will remind us of the actions and behaviors taken by the reign of the dictator and the violence, the random arrests, the mass graves and confiscations of freedom from the people,” the board of Baghdadiyah said.
Friends said Zaidi covered the U.S. bombing of Baghdad’s Sadr City area earlier this year and had been “emotionally influenced” by the destruction he’d seen. They also said he’d been kidnapped in 2007 and held for three days by Shiite Muslim gunmen.