Will Freedom Of Expression Survive In Iraq?

Thousands of Iraqis have demanded the release of a local TV reporter who threw his shoes at US President George W Bush at a Baghdad news conference. Bush's experience of ducking the issues for the past eight years paid off when he ducked the two shoes thrown at him by the reporter.

Crowds gathered in Baghdad's Sadr City district, calling for "hero" Muntadar al-Zaidi to be freed from custody.

Officials at the Iraqi-owned TV station, al-Baghdadiya, called for the release of their journalist, saying he was exercising freedom of expression. American journalist Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now, has established fund to buy the shoe-throwing journalist a new pair of loafers. At this time, it is not know whether Iraqis bury their dead with their shoes on.

In Hollywood, Ed O'Neil, who played the part of shoe salesman Al Bundy in the long running TV series Married With Children, said he hopes to get the part of the reporter for the planned made-for-TV movie being considered for the event.

Iraqi officials have described the incident as shameful and apologize for the reporter not being a better shot. The officials said it was only a coincidence that two hooded men carrying jumpers cables followed the arrest precession into the interrogation chambers at the local police detention center.

A statement released by the government said Mr Zaidi's actions, which also included him shouting insults at President Bush, "demonstrated the need for more baking schools in Iraq to bring protesting to the pie-throwing level emphasized in America."

Correspondents say the protesters are supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr - a leading critic of the US presence in Iraq. Smaller protests were reported in Basra and Najaf at the Payless Shoe Stores where long lines clogged the roads as protesters waited to by shoes for Bush's upcoming visit.

1 comment:

Roadkill said...


As Winston Churchill is purported to have said, (and I paraphrase), Democracy is absolutely the worst form of government ever devised, except for all the other forms.

What is truely heartening is that this intrepid albiet silly reporter actually had the gumption to throw shoes at a poltician he did not like.

A reporter who pulled a similar stunt in the US might have been shot by the secret service.

A reporter who pulled a similar stunt in Iraq 5 years ago might have been tortured, murdered, and had his entire family similarly dispatched.

All in all, I think its a good sign for the future of the Iraqi democratic experiment.