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I mean, really! Who throws a shoe?
September 15, 2009 11:28 AM   Subscribe

"After six years of humiliation, of indignity, of killing and violations of sanctity, and desecration of houses of worship, the killer comes, boasting, bragging about victory and democracy. He came to say goodbye to his victims and wanted flowers in response.

"Put simply, that was my flower to the occupier, and to all who are in league with him, whether by spreading lies or taking action, before the occupation or after."

Muntadhar al Zaidi, the journalist sentenced to three years of prison for assaulting a foreign leader after throwing his shoes at President Bush, has been released from prison after serving only nine months.

On top of being severely beaten at the time of his arrest, al Zaidi has claimed that his 9 months in prison were marked by beatings, whippings and electric shocks.
posted by orville sash (53 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
A fucking hero of the old school. You go, dude.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:35 AM on September 15, 2009 [11 favorites]


Truly, he was not the person in the room most deserving of that treatment.
posted by mhoye at 11:36 AM on September 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


You go, al Zaidi, may the soles of your shoes always find their target. If I could have thrown a shoe at George, I would have.

Funny story, I hear from a friend in Highland Park, near where George encamped, that there are often shoes all over the street where he lives.
posted by dejah420 at 11:46 AM on September 15, 2009


On top of being severely beaten at the time of his arrest, al Zaidi has claimed that his 9 months in prison were marked by beatings, whippings and electric shocks.

Whereas Saddam would have had him shot! See how much progress we've made!
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:47 AM on September 15, 2009 [10 favorites]


It shouldn't be a surprise, after he threw his shoe

- during his daughter's elementary school production of A Christmas Carol
- during a screening of Ishtar
- at his birthday cake
- at the shoe salesman in the mall
- at the full moon
- at his Dell computer
posted by swift at 11:48 AM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


This guy is my hero too. It takes balls to stand up for what you believe in, and throwing your shoes at the President of the United States means he's got a big ol' pair swingin'.
posted by elder18 at 11:52 AM on September 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Top-notch. Would that we were so brave here.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:53 AM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


"That was my flower to the occupier." – What a beautiful way to see the world.
posted by krilli at 11:53 AM on September 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Whereas Saddam would have had him shot!

Sounds a lot less painful to me, honestly.
posted by orville sash at 11:53 AM on September 15, 2009


This guy is my hero too. It takes balls to stand up for what you believe in, and throwing your shoes at the President of the United States means he's got a big ol' pair swingin'.

I feel this way too; yet, when Joe Wilson yells and interrupts our current president, I am filled with rage. Why? What are these conflicting feelings I have?
posted by Think_Long at 11:57 AM on September 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


Better than any of Bush's speeches, that was.
posted by carsonb at 11:58 AM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Put simply, that was my flower to the occupier

Does this mean that Nike is moving into the florist and gardening markets?
posted by Pseudology at 12:03 PM on September 15, 2009


I feel this way too; yet, when Joe Wilson yells and interrupts our current president, I am filled with rage. Why? What are these conflicting feelings I have?

President Obama didn't pointlessly bomb the fuck out of Joe Wilson's country, remember?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:05 PM on September 15, 2009 [60 favorites]


I feel this way too; yet, when Joe Wilson yells and interrupts our current president, I am filled with rage. Why? What are these conflicting feelings I have?

That's not really fair to al Zaidi, equating his courage, quality of character and the basis for what motivated his actions, with those of a party stooge like Wilson.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:10 PM on September 15, 2009 [8 favorites]


Also, "what you believe in" probably differs pretty strongly between the two.

Standing up to someone who, as a factual matter, really did invade and occupy your country on the basis of lies: teh awesome.

Standing up to someone who you have delusion beliefs about, or who stands in the way of you preventing people from having health care, and about whom you lie: teh douchebag.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:12 PM on September 15, 2009 [15 favorites]


Pfft, I wish his aim was better.
posted by chillmost at 12:12 PM on September 15, 2009


Does this mean that Nike is moving into the florist and gardening markets?

Nike: Just dew it.
posted by zeugitai_guy at 12:13 PM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I support Joe Wilson yelling "You Lie!" at an American President, even if I don't believe in Joe Wilson's position.

I cringe a wee bit at the thought of Muntadhar al Zaidi throwing objects at an American President, even if I do believe in Muntadhar al Zaidi's position.
posted by CynicalKnight at 12:14 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Top-notch. Would that we were so brave here.

I hurled my vote at him. Twice. Alas, I missed both times.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:14 PM on September 15, 2009


I really hope "my flower to the occupier" gets traction.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:16 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Have the Mets signed him yet?
posted by rocket88 at 12:18 PM on September 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


President Obama didn't pointlessly bomb the fuck out of Joe Wilson's country, remember?

a fair point
posted by Think_Long at 12:21 PM on September 15, 2009


I feel this way too; yet, when Joe Wilson yells and interrupts our current president, I am filled with rage. Why? What are these conflicting feelings I have?

On top of what Optimus Chyme and Blazecock Pileon said, it's also worth pointing out that Zaidi threw the shoe at a news conference whereas Wilson interrupted a address to a joint session of Congress. Furthermore, Wilson is an elected representative, and so his actions tarnished his state and constituents. Zaidi, by contrast, is a private citizen and thus caused no collateral damage, so to speak.

I support Joe Wilson yelling "You Lie!" at an American President, even if I don't believe in Joe Wilson's position.

The Wilson outburst isn't a free speech issue. Wilson plainly broke several of his own party's rules of decorum. He should be censured by the House, and every Republican who votes against censure is a rank hypocrite. If Wilson wants to stand on a street corner with a sign or picket in front of the White House, that's his right. But when he became a Representative he promised not to call the President a liar or to yell out during sessions of Congress. His actions deserve only scorn and should not be supported even in the abstract.
posted by jedicus at 12:21 PM on September 15, 2009 [15 favorites]


Optimus Chyme: "President Obama didn't pointlessly bomb the fuck out of Joe Wilson's country, remember?"

Don't be silly. Of course there was a point.

Iraq to Open Oil Fields for Foreign Companies


Mission Accomplished
posted by Joe Beese at 12:45 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


What a statement. I both hope and fear that he gets into politics.
posted by empath at 12:45 PM on September 15, 2009


Wilson plainly broke several of his own party's rules of decorum.

I actually think the US could do with a lot less decorum, frankly. Taiwan and Korea truly understand the way congress and parliaments were meant to operate. The trick is to hurt 'em, but not so much that you don't have a quorum for the next meeting.
posted by FuManchu at 12:57 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


President Obama didn't pointlessly bomb the fuck out of Joe Wilson's country, remember?

I guess that's true if you want to be all nuanced about it and shit.

/attempt at humor
posted by marxchivist at 12:59 PM on September 15, 2009


I am not a hero, and I admit that. But I have a point of view and I have a stance.

Simple and to the point always beats flowery rhetoric.
posted by Mblue at 1:03 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Wilson outburst isn't a free speech issue. Wilson plainly broke several of his own party's rules of decorum. He should be censured by the House, and every Republican who votes against censure is a rank hypocrite.

Careful. You can make exactly the same argument about al Zaidi: he broke the rules of the governing body, however unjust they may be, and he was punished accordingly. The two acts are morally, if not logistically equivalent. The fact that al Zaidi had a lot more justification for his actions, and knew that he was martyring himself to make his point publicly, means that I personally am going to cheer him on wildly, but I'll cop to the fact that it's hypocritical to applaud him and condemn Wilson in the same breath. Unfortunately, standing up for free speech frequently requires siding with insufferable douchebags as a matter of principle.
posted by Mayor West at 1:12 PM on September 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


But when he became a Representative he promised not to call the President a liar or to yell out during sessions of Congress.

I think it would really help if they added that line specifically to the oath of office, then:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will not yell out and/or call the President a liar on the floor of Congress; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
posted by Spatch at 1:19 PM on September 15, 2009


A shoe is nothing, the Georgians were out there hurling grenades.

Well, ONE grenade. And it fell way short, and didn't go off. But still.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:25 PM on September 15, 2009


Pretty sure following party rules about not yelling out whatever the hell you want whenever the hell you want to is part of that "well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office" bit.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:34 PM on September 15, 2009


Unfortunately, standing up for free speech frequently requires siding with insufferable douchebags as a matter of principle.

It's not a free speech issue.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:36 PM on September 15, 2009


What a statement. I both hope and fear that he gets into politics.

He'd be a shoe in.
posted by Elmore at 1:36 PM on September 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


Good man yourself, Muntadhar al Zaidi.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:38 PM on September 15, 2009


The difference between Wilson and al Zaidi is that in the former's case, the President is the civilian leader of the nation's government. In the latter's case, the (now ex-) President is the commander of an unwelcome occupying force.

Oh, and al Zaidi was honest in his criticism.
posted by explosion at 1:55 PM on September 15, 2009



Making any kind of connection between Zaidi the patriot and Wilson the politician is.......... well, it's political.
posted by notreally at 2:09 PM on September 15, 2009


I may be incorrect, but I am fairly sure that nearly all of those here who oppose Joe Wilson's actions don't think that he should be, you know, arrested.

As far as I know, being censured by Congress, if it happens, doesn't even mean he loses his job or any perks or even has to sit in a penalty box or anything.

Being in favor of free speech doesn't mean you can't think someone is an asshole for saying something.

So, yeah, you can agree with the point of view of one guy, and disagree with the point of view of the other, and think the punishment for one was inappropriate, and the punishment for one (may be) appropriate, without being a hypocrite, because the punishments were, in fact, completely different. Jail and torture vs. a harshly worded public statement.

The only reason you would be a hypocrite is if, say, you thought Zaidi should get off scott free AND Joe Wilson should be jailed and beaten, or something similar.
posted by kyrademon at 2:11 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Careful. You can make exactly the same argument about al Zaidi: he broke the rules of the governing body, however unjust they may be, and he was punished accordingly. The two acts are morally, if not logistically equivalent.

I never said that al Zaidi didn't break the law or shouldn't be punished. Al Zaidi was effectively engaged in civil disobedience, and so his punishment serves as a reminder of the unjust nature of the laws he was found to have broken. (Three years or nine months, either is far too long for tossing a couple of shoes at someone).

Wilson, by contrast, was not engaged in civil disobedience but rather straightforward, malicious disruption of an event he had promised not to disrupt by signing on to his party's rules of decorum. If he didn't want to be bound by those rules, he shouldn't have run as a Republican. If he didn't want to be bound by the House rules, he shouldn't've run for representative.

I could see an argument that he was engaged in civil disobedience if he had campaigned against the rules of decorum or first tried to have them repealed or modified to allow such outbursts, but he did no such thing.

I think it would really help if they added that line specifically to the oath of office, then:

It's already in there. As you say "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States." I refer you to Article I, Section 5, Clause 7:

Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member.

From the House Rules of Decorum, to wit:

"Members Must...Address themselves solely and directly to the Chair" and "Members Must...Refrain from speaking disrespectfully of the...President."

And from the Republican House Rules:

"A Member should avoid impugning the motives of...the President" and "[I]t is not permissible to use language that is personally offensive to the President, such as referring to him as a “hypocrite” or a “liar.”"
posted by jedicus at 2:21 PM on September 15, 2009 [12 favorites]


Making any kind of connection between Zaidi the patriot and Wilson the politician is.......... well, it's political.

wow, my first derail. I apologize . . . but I can't help but feel a little bit proud . ..
posted by Think_Long at 2:36 PM on September 15, 2009


President Obama didn't pointlessly bomb the fuck out of Joe Wilson's country, remember?

Yet.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:42 PM on September 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


Wilson, by contrast, was not engaged in civil disobedience but rather straightforward, malicious disruption of an event he had promised not to disrupt by signing on to his party's rules of decorum. If he didn't want to be bound by those rules, he shouldn't have run as a Republican. If he didn't want to be bound by the House rules, he shouldn't've run for representative.

You can prove anything with facts.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:53 PM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm happier saying al Zaidi gets a pass because he threw two shoes at the man who bombed his country, whereas Wilson's constituents have probably benefited from Obama's policies.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:57 PM on September 15, 2009


That was really an incredibly impressive speech.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 3:01 PM on September 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


What I like about shoe-throwing, in principle, is that it's an effective way to convey "your behavior is so evil that it drives me to violent action" with almost none of the bad aspects of violent action. You'd be unlikely to hurt anyone with a thrown shoe, but the psychological impact is huge.

It just doesn't scale, though. If there's one thing we American's do best, it's making too much of a good thing. "Pizza is great, but what we need is to make room in the crust to stuff even more cheese into it!" and whatnot.

When we defend shoe-throwing, even against someone like Bush, it's important to imagine what the town halls would've been like if that was considered acceptable behavior. People probably would be hurt. Criminy, think of the cowboy boots. With spurs!
posted by Riki tiki at 3:05 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Joe Wilson should be jailed and beaten

That would be a gross violation of the law. Instead, Joe Wilson should be waterboarded until he implicates his co-conspirators.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:35 PM on September 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


HAHA I can't believe Jedicus' link. What does it mean that the Republican rules of decorum specifically prohibit calling the President "intellectually dishonest"? I don't know yet but it's fucking hilarious nonetheless.
posted by R_Nebblesworth at 3:53 PM on September 15, 2009


" Some say: Why didn't he ask Bush an embarrassing question at the press conference, to shame him? And now I will answer you, journalists. How can I ask Bush when we were ordered to ask no questions before the press conference began, but only to cover the event. It was prohibited for any person to question Bush."
posted by R_Nebblesworth at 4:05 PM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Only nine months!?
posted by Dysk at 4:44 PM on September 15, 2009


Nine too many.
posted by pompomtom at 5:56 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was in the Middle East when the shoes were thrown and it's hard to say how delighted everyone was when they saw the clips. Beyond the loathing of Bush, much admiration from Arabs, South Asians, Filipinos, etc., for one little person taking that action against someone in a position of power.

Zain zain al Zaidi
posted by ambient2 at 8:14 PM on September 15, 2009


in the spirit of things, i figured they would throw the book at him.
posted by breadfruit at 12:46 AM on September 16, 2009


What proves the righteousness of the act of throwing his shoes was Bush's response.
Both immediate and later.
He could have stopped him being beaten at arrest with a word. He could have asked the sentence be suspended, he could have made a public statement, something worthwhile.
No, he made some offhand remark about Iraq being a free society and a bit later Condi Rice reiterates this "democracy" pony and blathers about history showing things differently than the news media.
Dunno, shock a guy's balls for throwing a shoe, you let it pass...pretty much how it's going to go down in the history books.

The crap with Wilson isn't even in the same league. It's not even real. It's this rinky dink 'we think we're accomplishing something' political theater. Obama was cool for handling it that way. "Uhh...gorsh...sorry?" "Yeah, ok."

al-Zaidi getting the hell kicked out of him for months, that's for real. No matter what one thinks about it, practically (security), ethically, politically, no one should be wontonly beaten by the police or tortured in prison for any reason.

If there's anything that connects the two it's the faculty of willfully ignoring the suffering of other human beings if it's expedient to your selfish agenda.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:56 AM on September 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


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