Why I threw the shoe – Muntazer al-Zaidi

ddI am free. But my country is still a prisoner of war. There has been a lot of talk about the action and about the person who took it, and about the hero and the heroic act, and the symbol and the symbolic act. But, simply, I answer: what compelled me to act is the injustice that befell my people, and how the occupation wanted to humiliate my homeland by putting it under its boot.

Over recent years, more than a million martyrs have fallen by the bullets of the occupation and Iraq is now filled with more than five million orphans, a million widows and hundreds of thousands of maimed. Many millions are homeless inside and outside the country.

We used to be a nation in which the Arab would share with the Turkman and the Kurd and the Assyrian and the Sabean and the Yazid his daily bread. And the Shia would pray with the Sunni in one line. And the Muslim would celebrate with the Christian the birthday of Christ. This despite the fact that we shared hunger under sanctions for more than a decade.

Our patience and our solidarity did not make us forget the oppression. But the invasion divided brother from brother, neighbour from neighbour. It turned our homes into funeral tents.

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 of confrontation. The scandal of Abu Ghraib. The massacre of Falluja, Najaf, Haditha, Sadr City, Basra, Diyala, Mosul, Tal Afar, and every inch of our wounded land. I travelled through my burning land and saw with my own eyes the pain of the victims, and heard with my own ears the screams of the orphans and the bereaved. And a feeling of shame haunted me like an ugly name because I was powerless.

As soon as I finished my professional duties in reporting the daily tragedies, while I washed away the remains of the debris of the ruined Iraqi houses, or the blood that stained my clothes, I would clench my teeth and make a pledge to our victims, a pledge of vengeance.

The opportunity came, and I took it.

I took it out of loyalty to every drop of innocent blood that has been shed through the occupation or because of it, every scream of a bereaved mother, every moan of an orphan, the sorrow of a rape victim, the teardrop of an orphan.

I say to those who reproach me: do you know how many broken homes that shoe which I threw had entered? How many times it had trodden over the blood of innocent victims? Maybe that shoe was the appropriate response when all values were violated.

When I threw the shoe in the face of the criminal, George Bush, I wanted to express my rejection of his lies, his occupation of my country, my rejection of his killing my people. My rejection of his plundering the wealth of my country, and destroying its infrastructure. And casting out its sons into a diaspora.

If I have wronged journalism without intention, because of the professional embarrassment I caused the establishment, I apologise. All that I meant to do was express with a living conscience the feelings of a citizen who sees his homeland desecrated every day. The professionalism mourned by some under the auspices of the occupation should not have a voice louder than the voice of patriotism. And if patriotism needs to speak out, then professionalism should be allied with it.

I didn’t do this so my name would enter history or for material gains. All I wanted was to defend my country.

Muntazer al-Zaidi is an Iraqi reporter who was freed this week after serving nine months in prison for throwing his shoe at former US president George Bush at a press conference. This edited statement was translated by McClatchy Newspapers correspondent Sahar Issa www.mcclatchydc.com

Source: Guardian.co.uk





3 responses to “Why I threw the shoe – Muntazer al-Zaidi”

  1. Esmeralda Avatar

    If you are not a hero, you are more great than hero.

    You are a real man, and you are the most excellent journalist in the world. A GREAT journalist! You to win biggest honor for the journalism. You made us real respect journalist more! All journalists of Iraq should be proud of Muntazer al-Zaidi, And all Iraqis should be proud of this Iraqi brave man.

    I hope he will be able to return to the job he clearly great loves. And, lose him will be important loss of journalism.

    I wants to read your upright reportages and hear your upright voice, Muntazer.

    You are the conscience of Iraq, you are the the conscience of Arab, and you are the conscience of the whole world human.

    Although in your hand has no inch iron, you are the man who have power most! You are justice. You are Peace. You are the dignity of Iraq nation and Iraqi peoples! You made world respect Iraqis people more!

    And, the world real should care about is this young man to have the courage to stand up against great evil, people real should care about is he is a great patriot with his heart and behavior, not the shoe.

    he speak out what I want to say and Iraqis people and the entire justice human want to say.

    And, he is a guardian angel of Iraq with a heart of big love.

    I am from china and I feel proud of you. Muntazer al-Zaidi is my hero.

    He is an honour, not only to his country, not only to Arabian peoples, not only to all Muslem, but to the entire human race.

    I hope you recover soon, my Iraqi good brother. And I wish happiness and safe be with you and your family, and always, and be with Iraq.

  2. kashmiri Avatar

    I wish i could get a chance of throwing it on The INDIAN PESTS who ruined my homeland.. Manmohan Where are you??

  3. PEACE Avatar

    i hope the shoes were safety….as in heavy and metal headed…to cause alot of damage…

    but brother…even if it wasnt….it did damage the peace-killers image

    i salute you Muntazer al-Zaidi for that !!

    yes…BUSH is the biggest peace-killer and terrorist…numerically and by magnitude.

    Brother are often dumb to bring everything down to religion…

    and i wanna say is that all religions are peaceFUL…

    its those HUMAN DEVILS among us.

    If u find one….throw a shoe !

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