Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's a plane! It's Superman! No, it's a pair of size 10 shoes!!!

US President George W. Bush experienced un-bottled rage ala Iraqi in the form of a pair of size 10 shoes hurled at him, one after the other, during a press conference in Baghdad last December 14, 2008. Fortunately for Dubya, he had excellent ducking skills to protect himself from being hit. The shoes belonged to Muntazer al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist, who jumped up as Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was having a press conference regarding the signing of a U.S. - Iraq security agreement. The said agreement calls for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2011. It was Bush's surprise visit to Iraq but I'm sure the tables were turned when he saw the shoes flying into his face's direction. Bush laughed off the incident and proceeded to Afghanistan to complete his farewell tour before he vacates his seat for President-Elect Barack Obama.

But this ain't any laughing matter. Yes, we deserve the entertainment that this drama has created. But it is Bush that should laugh last or not at all. This should be a warning for world leaders who have long been triggering their subordinates' anger to be ready to tap on (more than) their ducking skills in case something is hurled at them. Anything could be hurled at them. Fortunately for Bush, he saw the shoes coming. What if it was hurled from behind? But what if it wasn't just some pair of size 10 shoes? Scary. I believe that anger could compete with pain in being the greatest motivator.

Those shoes (on which wings instantly grew) owned by the angry Iraqi journalist might as well be the start of a list of stuff being hurled at political leaders. Let's see if some more would be added to that list, tangible or not. Although the intangible list has been growing since one could ever recall, it might be interesting to focus our attention on the tangible list this time. Let's see how the targets would rake more puns to defend themselves or how they would vividly recall other odd political incidents just to distract the reporters crowding at them.

It was through this incident that I learned that soles of shoes are considered the ultimate insult in Arab culture. Many people beat the face of Saddam Hussein's statue when it was toppled down in Baghdad in April 2003. Now who can just downplay and laugh off this flying shoes drama?

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