A bewildered President Bush found himself dodging shoe bombs during a press conference in Iraq (Iíll pause for the inevitable giggle).
The BBC reported that Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki signed the new security agreement between their countries before the press conference in Baghdad.
The pact calls for US troops to leave Iraq in 2011 - eight years after the 2003 invasion that has in part defined the Bush presidency.
That may have been what finally set poor Muntader al-Zaidi over the edge. Al-Zaidi is an Iraqi journalist and an outspoken Bush-hater.
Zaidi wrenched off his shoe and called Bush a dog before throwing his size 10 Sketcher at our president. (Actually, I donít know if they were Sketchers, but they were a size 10 according to the president). Zaidi even managed to wing his other shoe at the bewildered Bush seconds before he was wrestled to the ground by security.
Besides being mildly amusing to those of us over here, whatís the big deal about chunking oneís shoe at the president during a press conference? I know first hand that the Arab world works very differently from ours. Revealing the soles of your shoe to someone is a sign of great disrespect. Itís like saying, ďYou are lower than the dirt on the bottom of my shoe.Ē
And to add icing to the cake, Zaidi had the nerve to call him a dog (not to be confused with our more American vernacular). In Arab tradition, a dog is the lowest of the low, an unclean animal that neither works nor produces.
The New York Times reported Maliki was more than embarrassed and issued a statement apologizing and said, ďThe act damaged the reputation of Iraqi journalists and journalism in general.Ē
Really? I donít know. Thereís been a time or two I probably would have liked to chunk my six-inch stiletto Bellini heels at someone during a press conference or two. (Of course, I didnít, but I really like those shoes.)
While the shoe-bombing bandit may seem to be a bit unprofessional, consider a country where the media is government owned and run, a place where there is no real freedom of expression. Also, consider what might be happening to shoeless Zaidi right now because he stood up and spoke his mind.
After spending about 30 minutes watching the news reel over and over, rolling on my floor laughing, in pain and unable to breathe, I thought about how lucky I am to be doing what I do in the country that I do it in.
So hereís to you Zaidi and your size 10s - may we all take your example and never be afraid to lob our metaphorical shoes when we hear that our government is doing something equally ridiculous.
(But if anyone has a really cute pair of size 6 Pradas, make sure you throw them at me.)