"My humble efforts to assist in the elucidation of the social condition of a distant and comparatively unknown race."
The culture of a society, is largely invisable to it's inhabitants. While the bigger things in our own cultures are easily identifiable, such as food, customs and religion. More unique things like hitting a statue or a picture of Saddam with a shoe, are not. Symbolism is usually subtle and can easily be missed or misinterpreted by people from other cultures. This is a great article from BBC WORLD NEWS which explains some of the symbolism we're seeing in the Iraqi gatherings.