Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Real News Video: A Shoe Heard 'Round the World and Lies in a Good Cause (three years since the "shoeing" of Bush)

More at The Real News

"Paul Jay: Mark Twain​​ ridiculed the warmongers of his day, "There have been lies; yes, but they were told in a good cause".

Muntadhar al-Zaidi is the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush at a Baghdad press conference on December 14th, 2008. I interviewed him in Beirut.

I asked why he did it. He said "I was exposing the occupation with my pen, however I didn't think my pen was reaching the world, I don't think the world read my writings, or saw what was happening in Iraq. But when I threw the shoe at Bush, the world became aware of what was going ".

His act of defiance became an instant sensation throughout the world. Virtually every newspaper and television news show led with the story. But for al-Zaidi, it was more than a decision to make a statement. He revealed that he thought it would lead to his death.

"It was a difficult decision because I was expecting to be killed at the moment of throwing the shoe at Bush. All those protecting the President were armed and scattered around the hall. However, my dignity was in my hands, a choice between death and the return of part of dignity, and to tell the world that Iraqis are objecting to the presence of Bush and his army in Iraq, that Iraqis did not welcome Bush with flowers, nor did they welcome his army."

Al-Zaidi told me he had left a will and a videotape explaining his action with his younger brother.
"He who thinks facing death is easy does not know the taste of death. I faced and sensed death was near when I was at the press conference. I was stuck between the comfortable life I was living: having a car, being a head of my department, my home, my dear friends and beloved, and to go face this person and do what I had decided upon by returning the favor [to Bush], for the widows, the orphans, in exchange for my life".

Al-Zaidi wasn't killed; instead he was arrested and viciously tortured for three months and jailed for nine. He's now living in Beirut but plans to return to Iraq soon to carry out charitable work for widows and orphans......"

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