Saturday, December 20, 2008

Shoe-ing Bush Out Of Office

Bombing is so passe. Will shoe throwing replace bombing as device du jour?

That relief is urgently needed by a weary and wary polity especially in South Asia and West Asia.

Civil society, on the path to building discursive democracy, cannot possibly accept the throwing of shoes as appropriate and effective political strategy. Instead, we can choose to talk; listen; speak out; protest peacefully non-violently; take legal action; vote; approach our elected representatives; persist and persuade; speak and perform Truth to Power until progress towards the Greater Collective Good (GCG), becomes real and enduring.

Yet, the shoe as powerful political projectile has caught the popular imagination.


Because in the faltering progress towards civil society and discursive democracy, the flung shoe has to be particularized and contextualized:

Where did the shoe-throwing occur?

By whom?

At whom?

At what event?

What was accomplished?

At a press conference, Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi, reportedly called the visiting US president and author of militarism against Iraq, "a dog" (a disparagement of our wonderful canine friends) before throwing both his shoes one after the other, at him. Bush displayed his reflexes by ducking them in time. The journalist was wrestled to the ground by security and is now in police custody, without an announced release date.

Most concerned persons know the answers to the above critical-thinking questions.

My immediate sense is flinging footwear is perhaps going to catch on in the US and elsewhere. Just yesterday an elderly, disgruntled subway transit rider bent down and attempted to remove his shoe for the ostensible purpose of throwing it at Metropolitan Transit Authority executives at a public hearing in my city. He was immediately removed by NYC cops.

Shoe-throwing, or at the very least, the shoe as political dissent metaphor, may become part of the idiom of resistance against seemingly intractable forces of U.S. militaristic and now criminally irresponsible financial opportunism.

How aptly ironic.

The American electorate (of which I am one but as a vigorous dissenter against US hegemony) and their elected representatives in Congress, who bear responsibility for supporting the invasion and occupation of Iraq will hopefully be joining hands, some time in the not too distant future, with their Iraqi victims.

That moment of recognition of a common humanity and common aspirations cannot come a moment too soon. The shoe is now on the other foot. Exit from Iraq, Reparations for Iraq.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice

Comment #36.
December 22, 2008 10:39 am

These are Two Shoes for Dignity.

We have to speak Truth to Power. Occasionally, as in this case, especially when the marauding superpower just doesn't get it, we have to perform Truth to Power.

The US has a long way to go, especially after these last eight years, before it can dare to lecture anyone, anywhere, about Democracy.

The journalist was discourteous. But the US is criminal.
Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy as Lived Practice

— EthicalDemocracy, New York, NY
by 2 Readers
NYTimes copyright

CNN copyright:

AP copyright
Iraqi shoe thrower released; says he was tortured
09/15/2009 3:46:23 AM
By HAMZA HENDAWI Associated Press Writer

The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at former President George W. Bush was released Tuesday after nine months in prison, and he said Iraqi security forces tortured him with beatings, whippings and electric shocks after his arrest.

Muntadhar al-Zeidi, whose stunning act of protest last December made him a hero around the Arab and Muslim worlds, said he now feared for his life and believed that U.S. intelligence agents would chase after him.

"These fearful services, the U.S. intelligence services and its affiliated services, will spare no efforts to track me as an insurgent revolutionary ... in a bid to kill me," he told a news conference at the TV station where he works.

"And here I want to warn all my relatives and people close to me that these services will use all means to trap and try to kill and liquidate me either physically, socially or professionally," he said.

The 30-year-old reporter's act of protest deeply embarrassed Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, who was standing beside Bush at a Dec. 14 news conference when al-Zeidi suddenly shot up from his chair had hurled his shoes toward the podium.

Bush, who was on his final visit to Iraq as American president, was unhurt but had to duck twice to avoid being hit.

Al-Zeidi was wrestled to the ground by journalists and al-Maliki's security men.

The reporter said Tuesday that he was abused immediately after his arrest and the following day. He said he was beaten with iron bars, whipped with cords and was electrocuted in the backyard of the building in the Green Zone where the news conference was held.

"In the morning, I was left in the cold weather after they splashed me with water," he said.

He promised to reveal the names of senior officials in the Iraqi government and army who he said were involved in mistreating him.

He explained that his actions were motivated by the U.S. occupation and said that while he is now free, his country is still "held captive."

"Simply put, what incited me toward confrontation is the oppression that fell upon my people and how the occupation wanted to humiliate my homeland by placing it under its boots," he said.