On Monday December 15, the world witnessed an unforgettable act in Baghdad, when a journalist attending a press conference for visiting US President Bush threw his shoes at the American President. This action of Muntader al-Zaidi, a 29-year-old journalist with the Al Baghdadia, a Cairo-based satellite television network, symbolised the anger, the hatred and repulsion of millions of peoples across the Arab world against the US State for its criminal occupation of Iraq and genocide of its people.
As Zaidi threw the first shoe, he shouted in Arabic – “this is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog!” With the second shoe that followed a few minutes later, he added, “this is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq!” This has expressed, in a nutshell the sentiments, of a majority of people of Iraq who have been experiencing the devastation of their country, their families and their entire society. Not for a moment have the Iraqi people accepted the US military intervention as an instrument of peace and security. The experience of the people of Iraq cannot be disguised by the lies of imperialist propaganda, however powerful.
Since March 2003, when the US attacked Iraq under the pretext that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction, till date, the Iraqi resistance to US occupation has only got stronger and has been expressed through several attacks on American troop convoys and their military camps. Even as the imperialist chieftain Bush and the US puppet Prime Minister of Iraq were claiming at the press conference that the US aggression on Iraq had brought peace to the country and “there is a bright future awaiting the young.” Zaidi threw his shoe to challenge this big lie. This was a defiant act by a young Iraqi who could not bear the lies any longer and who could not forget the thousands of innocent Iraqi lives lost. No wonder then that he drew admiration and applause from people across Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Libya and thousands across the world. Since then, thousands of Iraqi and other anti-imperialist peoples across the world have taken out street protests to oppose his arrest. To the minority that laments that this act was a blot on the tradition of Iraq to extend all hospitality for a guest, it has to be pointed out that Bush was no guest. He represented the US state that went to war with and occupied Iraq much against the will of the people; he was far from welcome and this would explain why he had to visit the country so stealthily. If, as Bush claims, the US invasion has brought peace and security to Iraq, then why is it that hundreds of innocent people continue to die every week? Why has the country remained a war zone? The answer is that there can be no peace for the Iraqi people till the imperialists leave their country – this was Zaidi’s call when he threw his shoes at Bush!