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IRAQI JOURNALIST, ACTIVIST, Muntazer al-Zaidi SPEAKS TO BelAhdan TV! بالأحضان

The Shoe Thrower Story.

I have been trying to get a hold of the so-called Shoe Thrower for years. Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi Journalist who threw a shoe at President Bush Jr. in 2008. Sending a message to Bush, “This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog,” yelled al-Zaidi in Arabic as he threw his first shoe towards Bush. “This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq,” he shouted as he threw his second shoeBush ducked twice to avoid being hit by the shoes.”  I Finally talked to him and had a friendly, insightful conversation . He has been busy organizing and protesting against corruption and injustice in Tahrir Square in Baghdad. On August 11, as he was resting from protesting at his house, I tweeted to him that if we could talk just for a few minutes; he agreed., We Zoomed for almost an hour, he was thoughtful, personal and in a very good mood.  I started the conversation by asking him… about

how the shoe-throwing incident blurred his political activities and your struggle for human rights and against political corruption. Many media coverage a hero in the Arab world, celebrity status, shoe manufacturer claimed his shoe was made there, a shoe statue in Tikrit, marriages proposals, book , films, offers, TV series..  .

My Interview with, Muntazer al-Zaidi, in Arabic!! 

Me. Al-Zaidi has been chasing president Bush’s victory laps media appearances for quite some time. Once, he heard that President Bush is coming to Iraq for a news conference in Baghdad on December 14, 2008, for a farewell visit. The Bush administration thought they would be greeted with roses, and he just liberated them from the jaw of ruthless dictator Saddam. Mr. Al-Zaidi 28 year old young at the time, had other ideas. He was politically active, just came back from Lebanon “I had just bought a new shoe from there, but I wore an old shoe I bought from Egypt a while ago. He wanted to humiliate Bush with an old Shoe, not a new one. “.. in our culture shoe is the most insulting thing to throw at somebody, instead of roses, roses are universally the symbol of peace and love. But Bush will get the old shoe instead,” al-Zaidi explained his motive and choice. Al-Zaidi had a plan “I prepared for this wedding and waited for the groom (Bush),” he mused. Al_Zaidi kept his plan secret; no one knew what he was up to and wrote his will what people should do if he died. 

– Did you really think you would die” ? 

– “Mr. Ahmed (Arabs address with the first name), have you seen how American securities react to an assault on their prudent, they don’t mess around”. 

He wore comfortable loose cloth,  casual jacket, and the Egyptian comfortable old shoe. “I have no idea what happened to the original shoe, all pictures of the shoes are fake, all have shoelaces, mine has none.”.. even the one that was made by orphanages to his honor in the city of Tikrit. Still, PM al-Maliki took it down after a few days”.

-Why would the PM of liberated Iraq take your shoe statue down? 

– “He is a shoe himself, doesn’t like other shoes”, he joked. 

– Some wondered why you would throw a shoe at a man who just liberated Iraq from a ruthless dictator like Saddam?

– No one in the world would substitute dictatorship for foreign occupation, never! It is a shame to accept that! ” he argued.

how about all these stories about your shoe, it is becoming a mythical shoe !

– -“… all not true, all fake, no one got it right” he said.

– Bush thought the shoe was size 10, (size 45″ )

– Bush is a lier, even he lies about my shoe size,” !

– What size was it..? 

– It is Bush’s size.. he replied with a smile

– What do you mean..! I asked

– What is Bush number in presidential lineup!? He probed 

– 43″ I said.

– That is my shoe size. (8 sizes)

We both laughed…

– why a journalist throws a show at Bush, instead of a throwing a question. !! I asked him. 

– .. they warned all Journalists from asking any questions.” He explained.

– So, they asked for it then.. shoe-throwing instead of questions! I joked.

– Exactly!! 

“If people know how this shoe walked on many destroyed houses, streets, cities, corpora, and destroyed dreams,” he told me.

Mr. Al-Zaidi was frustrated angry with crimes committed against his people and his country; he wanted to change the welcoming rose narrative that filled media coverage. Mr. al-Zaidi

 wrote in the guardian an op piece, “I am not a hero. But I have a point of view. I have a stance. It humiliated me to see my country humiliated; and to see my Baghdad burned, my people killed, Thousands of tragic pictures remained in my head, pushing me towards the path confrontation. The scandal of Abu Ghraib. The massacre of Fallujah, Najaf, Haditha, Sadr City, Basra, Diyala, Mosul, Tal Afar, and every inch of our wounded land.” 

Al-Ziadi was head of a craw covering the Bush farewell press conference for Iraqi based TV network. “I gave each of them all my belongings, My ID, My Card, My notes, my billfold. I didn’t want to know anything about me if I get caught or killed” Have you practiced shoe-throwing, you seemed to have a perfect aim! “I even alerted Bush, before throwing it, it would have hit him.. but as an Arab with tradition we don’t hit from behind or take cheap shots, we have chivalry and honor even in fights”. 

Would you one day come to visit America? 

_No, never, I got three invitations, and I turned them down.

_Why

_ I have beeves with America; I have one million killed Iraqis. This is heavy, and I don’t take this crime lightly. 

– What would make change your mind?

– I don’t hate Americans, but they voted for those criminals!? Until I see, Bush, Chaney, Rumsfeld, and Blair put on trial, I won’t visit America. “

Al-Zaidi, a father of an 8-year-old daughter, divorced lives now in Baghdad, continues his fight, ran unsuccessfully for Iraqi parliament, head a human rights organization, al-Ziad Foundation, that as his page says the search for justice before truth. 

The story of Muntazer al-Zaidi and symbolic shoe-throwing act at a leader of the biggest most powerful man alive, a leader of the most powerful country in the world. A civilized act against a savage crime attack that destroyed a country with more than 10,000-year history should be a standard reaction from journalists around the world, instead of participating in this media circus that we see every day at the white house, with fake questions and fake answers. 

 

Ahmed Tharwat 

Host/Producer

Arab American TV show BelAhdan

Bogs at Notes From America 

Follow him on Twitter @ahmediaTV

Minnesota,

Contact:

ahmediatv@gmail.com

 

 

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Ahmed Tharwat …. in the middle Ahmed Tharwat Im a host and producer of the Arab-Muslim Americans TV show BelAhdan with Ahmed (with open arms), a weekly TV show that airs on public TV Mondays at 1030PM. As a regular speaker and contributor on Public Radio show All Thing Considered, I have shared my unique view of world and American political and social events. As a regular contributor to StarTribune, the Pioneer Press, and Twin City Planet , also he has written to national and international magazines, such Slate, Diversify Inc and Al Jazeera English. I won the Pioneer Press community columnist award in 2000. In all my work, I have been Trying to bring Arab/Muslims to mainstream Americans.. . I believe that when it comes to politics “Nobody has a monopoly on stupidity” Thanks In The Middle ... Ahmed Tharwat/ Host BelAhdan TV show Freelance Writer, Public Speaker, International Media Fixer www.ahmediatv.com

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