An Iraqi threw his shoes at the president in Baghdad, saying something along the lines of "This is a farewell kiss, you dog," for the first shoe, and "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq" for the second. The president wasn't harmed; saved by his quick Texan reflexes, he ducked. The man was tackled, some say beaten, and now will be prosecuted.
It was an insult, instead of a grenade, or else Cheney would be our president for a few weeks. (For cultural significance to shoe throwing, see here.) For many, this man is a hero, a folk hero, a David that stood up to the biggest Goliath imaginable. Thousands of people are taking to the streets demanding freedom for this man. I wonder if there government will listen to them as much as ours listens to us. Some news footage, woo.
I think last night it really hit me what it would mean to be an Iraqi. Not that I hadn't thought about it before, but reading what this guy has said about hating America and hating Iran, and not wanting the rich Iraqi culture and way of life to be swallowed up by either threat, it became clear. This is the fertile crescent, the garden of eden. America's first invasion of Iraq was when I was 17, more than half my life ago. I can't imagine living that long being occupied by armed street thugs (our military), living your daily life, trying to make some sort of sense of it all and provide for your children a life worth living. The shoe throwing for some reason put that all into clear perspective for me.
Muntadar al-Zaidi, I can only imagine how good it must have felt to chuck a shoe at W. I can only imagine how many Americans would love to have been in your shoes that day. Please know that a lot of us in the United States feel our country has been taken over by greed, by corporations, by the wealthy and powerful. We feel we have no say in our government, nor what atrocities it commits. This country has been entrenched in the same Leviathan that has gobbled your country. I hope someday we will again find ourselves living in the garden of eden, but until then, I wish you peace.