Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Archive for December 18th, 2008

The Etiquette of Hurling Shoes

Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 18th December, 2008

The entire Arab world is abuzz about the shoe-throwing at George W Bush by Iraqi TV journalist, Muntadar Al Zaidi, earlier this week. A Facebook fan site for Al Zaidi is attracting members across the region and an Egyptian gentleman has offered the miscreant reporter his daughter in marriage (with her consent). The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri Al Maliki, is livid about what he considered to be an outrageous insult to the visiting US President, besmirching traditional Arab hospitality. But the vast majority of Arabs, including here in the Gulf, think the whole episode was brilliant. Not just the Iraq War but also Washington’s stance on the Israel/Palestine conflict are hugely unpopular, even in states such as Bahrain which have a US military presence.

The Bush administration is playing the whole thing down (to his credit, George W actually looked quite amused when the shoe-hurling happened, and successfully ducked). But there is no doubt that it was a deeply insulting act. All the more reason to make Al Zaidi a hero, rather than punish him, argues the Arab street. A plethora of related websites and games has sprung up. The one that has taken my fancy — if only for its punning name — is ‘’, which gives players 30 seconds to hit Bush with as many shoes as possible. Meanwhile, both filmed and animated clips of the incident have been receiving millions of hits.


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