President Bush & Iraq’s Farewell “Gift”


Well done, President George W. Bush. As a sportsman, I admired your ducking capability and your witty response when, on receiving an Iraqi journalist’s shoes, you reacted by saying that “the shoe number is 10″.

Why don’t you try these shoes for a change…and know if it pinches? You insisted on a “farewell” visit to your favorite destination — Iraq. It seems that “boots” were destined to be your last historic gift from your hosts.

(Remember the old song: These boots are made for walking…And that’s just what they’ll do…One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.)

The BBC reports: “In the middle of the news conference Iraqi television journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi stood up and shouted ‘this is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog,’ before hurling a shoe at Mr Bush which narrowly missed him.

“Showing the soles of shoes to someone is a sign of contempt in Arab culture.

“With his second shoe, which the president also managed to dodge, Mr Zaidi said: ‘This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq’.” More here…

Update: Here is what the reports from the Arab world indicate about this episode…Pl click here…
And here is what the Iraqi journalist’s brother has to say…

Some interesting “shoe” quotes come to mind:

“These are my new shoes. They’re good shoes. They won’t make you rich like me, they won’t make you rebound like me, they definitely won’t make you handsome like me. They’ll only make you have shoes like me. That’s it.” — Charles Barkley

“The time has come,” the walrus said, “to talk of many things: Of shoes and ships – and sealing wax – of cabbages and kings.” — Lewis Carroll (English Logician, Mathematician, Photographer and Novelist)

“Three quarters of the miseries and misunderstandings in the world would finish if people were to put on the shoes of their adversaries and understood their points of view.” — Mahatma Gandhi

“Don’t criticize what you don’t understand, son. You never walked in that man’s shoes.” — Elvis Presley

“Shoes are the first adult machines we are given to master.” — Nicholson Baker

“We Americans are world leaders and we must lead by example – particularly in times that require careful deliberation before any precipitous action – lest we fail to walk in the shoes of those we might injure.” — Peter Yarrow

(Photo above of Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi courtesy AP/BBC)

And don’t forget to read the memorable piece in Huffington Post…Please click here…

Here are some interesting comments…“Was al-Maliki signaling where he wanted the next one thrown?” (The photo shows Maliki extending a hand to protect Bush’s head from the shoe.)

Author: SWARAAJ CHAUHAN, International Columnist

Swaraaj Chauhan describes his two-decade-long stint as a full-time journalist as eventful, purposeful, and full of joy and excitement. In 1993 he could foresee a different work culture appearing on the horizon, and decided to devote full time to teaching journalism (also, partly, with a desire to give back to the community from where he had enriched himself so much.) Alongside, he worked for about a year in 1993 for the US State Department's SPAN magazine, a nearly five-decade-old art and culture monthly magazine promoting US-India relations. It gave him an excellent opportunity to learn about things American, plus the pleasure of playing tennis in the lavish American embassy compound in the heart of New Delhi. In !995 he joined WWF-India as a full-time media and environment education consultant and worked there for five years travelling a great deal, including to Husum in Germany as a part of the international team to formulate WWF's Eco-tourism policy. He taught journalism to honors students in a college affiliated to the University of Delhi, as also at the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication where he lectured on "Development Journalism" to mid-career journalists/Information officers from the SAARC, African, East European and Latin American countries, for eight years. In 2004 the BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST) selected him as a Trainer/Mentor for India under a European Union project. In 2008/09 He completed another European Union-funded project for the BBC WST related to Disaster Management and media coverage in two eastern States in India --- West Bengal and Orissa. Last year, he spent a couple of months in Australia and enjoyed trekking, and also taught for a while at the University of South Australia. Recently, he was appointed as a Member of the Board of Studies at Chitkara University in Chandigarh, a beautiful city in North India designed by the famous Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier. He also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students there. He loves trekking, especially in the hills, and never misses an opportunity to play a game of tennis. The Western and Indian classical music are always within his reach for instant relaxation. And last, but not least, is his firm belief in the power of the positive thought to heal oneself and others.