Iraqi TV journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi is not only an Arab folk hero now but an international celebrity too. His shoe throwing incident has been on every news site imaginable and now he’s also on People.com.
I, like many others, go to People.com to get the latest celebrity dish on a daily basis. But I was totally surprised to see the headline “Who Is the Shoe-Throwing Iraqi Journalist?” on their homepage. It’s kind of humorous, isn’t it? People assumes that we already heard about what this guy did (if you haven’t already then you must be living under a rock) and wants to delve into who this man really is.
The short article reads like an episode of E True Hollywood Story. It basically provides quotes from The New York Times from al-Zaidi’s siblings. One of his brothers said that al-Zaidi was so angry with the US being in Iraq that he would end his reports by saying he was in “the occupied Baghdad”. The other stated that he even canceled his wedding and would only marry when the occupation was over. The article even goes into some detail about his abduction in 2007. You know, providing the back story so that you can understand who this man really is and why he would do such a thing.
Contrary to what Iraqi officials have been saying, I don’t find al-Zaidi’s actions as shameful. I think this guy had the balls to say and do what millions of people around the world, including here in the US, have been wanting to do for years. And it’s not like he would’ve hurt President Bush physically. He just made a statement using his shoes. And by the way, a lot has been made about the significance of the throwing of shoes in Arab culture. But I ask you, would anyone from any other part of the world view a shoe being thrown at them as anything other than an insult?
I wonder if when al-Zaidi woke up yesterday he knew he’d be the talk of the world within 24 hours. I sincerely hope he’s released from Iraqi custody soon. Maybe upon his release People Magazine will do an exclusive interview with him. I can’t wait!