Monday, December 15, 2008

Eating Shoe Leather

Evidently, in Iraq throwing a shoe at someone means that they are lower than the dirt beneath the sole of the shoe. This reminds me of the games we used to play as adolescents. When we made fun of each other the really good insults were known as chopping: HA ha, I chopped you so low you have to look down to look up... Ha ha, I chopped you so low the ants can pee on you... and so it goes. While you and I, and even President Bush would see this as a silly and juvenile incident, it has provoked much debate within Iraq. In fact, Bush told ABC News that it was probably the weirdest thing that has happened to him and he doesn't hold it against the government or the Iraqi press.

Mostly, guys think it was a way cool thing to do, the brother of the short time journalist  is trying to make apologies, saying that it was a spontaneous thing, but others who knew him say that he had been planning it as a fantasy for quite awhile.

Some of the reactions from Iraqis have been: "Haitham Karem, a 32-year-old soldier, said: “What happened in the conference is a personal expression for an Iraqi journalist and a citizen. His action is kind of the freedom. The officials have to understand it.”

Ahmad Hasan, a 29-years-old TV correspondent, said: “Muntader’s action is not a civilized action by a journalist, but he sent a message by an Iraqi citizen showing that there are too many Iraqis who refused the American existence and the [security] agreement.”

Haider Quraishi, a 40-year-old journalist, said: “The action was a frank objection by one of the educated category in Iraqi community to the [security] agreement. And the government has to release Muntader immediately. I know what Bush was thinking about in that moment because he was treated in such a way before. I do not think he is upset, but Maliki is really upset.”

Abdul Zahra Hmood, a 54-year-old farmer, said: “It is shame to have an aggression against a guest of Iraqi people inside Iraqi home. The man who has political affiliations has to keep away from journalism and work with his political parties.”

Mohammad Ismaeil, a reporter, said: “What happened is a shame and it was because there is not a law governing press and media in Iraq.”

The UN agreement with Iraq concerning foreign soldiers still will end on Dec 31. Those countries who have not made a separate agreement will have to withdraw their forces. Britian plans to withdraw theirs by March, and Australia is still trying to get an agreement passed. The Germans, who are not allowed to participate in combat, will have to pack up their beer and go home. Many countries may also close their embassies in Iraq if they can't even keep a security force.

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