On this platform, I have expressed my sadness in several posts at how the image of the US Presidency has suffered worldwide thanks in no part to its prime occupant called affectionately Mr.W !
The recent event in which a reporter hurled shoes) at Mr. W only deepens that sadness. The sadness further reaches new heights - or depths, depending on your POV, with his remarks later on the issue. He has questioned the man's intention and blithely suggested that the possible motive would have been to 'gain attention'. That shoes are only thrown at a person on whom utter contempt is shown / felt has been a point completely missed by Mr. W! With this level of ignorance, I feel that Mr. W is a total shoe-in for the '2008 Award for Ignorance & Stupidity'!
Further, if the President were to read the man's objective behind throwing the shoe(s), it was to highlight Mr. W's fantasy of starting and winning a war which has brought nothing but tears and tragedy to both sides. Mr. W has completely forgotten that his earlier admission - that the Iraq war was a blunder - could have been the catalyst for the shoe throwing.
As of today, this report by the BBC states that the US president has "no hard feelings" about the Iraqi journalist who flung shoes at him. *Duh*?! While one must appreciate the President's bravado at brushing off this incident, it would be an eye-opener to know his true feelings. Let him also consider this point extracted from this report:
In South Asian countries like India, Hindus—as well as Muslims—have a custom of humiliating people by parading them in public wearing a garland of shoes.
Anyway, with that defiant show of protest, the offender has become an instant hit, a celebrity, by any standards, high or low. "World rejoices Iraqi shoe-thrower" goes this report citing how he is set to become a rich man.
In Saudi Arabia, a man has offered $10 million to buy just one of the two world famous black dress shoes in an obvious attempt to reward al-Zaidi.
A group led by the daughter of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi showed its admiration by awarding a medal of courage to the detained Iraqi.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hailed the Iraqi reporter as a role model for courageousness. "It's a good thing it didn't hit him. I'm not encouraging throwing shoes at anybody, but really, what courage," he said.
Internet surfers got a kick out of making Flash-based games. In one of the games, players assume the role of Bush to earn points by dodging the shoes flying toward him. Another game scores player on how many shoes hit the animated Bush.
This letter to the Editor in the NYT of yesterday should give Mr. W the nightmares reading how his own citizens are thinking of the incident.
To the Editor:
If President Bush is a gentleman, if he cares for democracy and if he honestly respects the Iraqi people, he will immediately and forcefully appeal for the release of Muntader al-Zaidi, the journalist who insulted him.
George W. Bush brought war to Iraq. The least he can do is give Mr. Zaidi some peace.
New York, Dec.
Personally, I still have to give Mr. W some credit that this shoe-throwing incident showed: His remarkable agility and physical fitness. If you see the speed with which he ducks, man, that's really amazing.
So here's one of the things on my list of things to become good at for 2009: