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Shoes that smell of revenge take flight on the Web

Text by Tahar HANI

Latest update : 2008-12-30

Arab newspapers and websites gathered thousands of responses to the incident of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush during a press conference.

 
Read the article "Bush narrowly escapes shoe attack"

 

Montazer al Zaidi

 

 

Three days after targeting the face of U.S. President George W. Bush with his shoes, Montaza al-Zaidi, a journalist for the Iraqi channel Al-Baghdadia (pictured above), has become the new hero of the Muslim world - at least on the Web.

Arab media outlets have been bombarded with reactions. The Qatari-based news channel Al Jazeera claims to have received more than 3,200 comments in two days, a far greater number than was received after the 9-11 attacks.  Saudi channel Al Arabiya says it may no longer be able to regulate the flow of incoming messages on the incident.

Reactions have come from every Arab country, and almost all applaud the journalist who launched his shoes on the president of the United States. They sometimes label him "courageous" and "brave". Comments such as "May God protect you Montaza", "You have raised the dignity of Iraqi and Arab people", "You are our hero, an example to follow" and " You and your shoes have made history," are very common.

The Iraqi channel Al-Baghdadia devoted its website’s homepage to its celebrity journalist, still in detention. Several photos show Montaza in a business suit, wearing traditional Iraqi garments, or reporting in the field, microphone in hand.

Facebook website users have also reacted to the event, posting photos and cartoons on the subject.
 
A cartoon posted on the website Flickr, depicts President Bush pursued by a shoe-shaped fighter jet.

caricature flickr


On FRANCE 24’s website, Said Medyoun, a Moroccan Internet user, thanked the "Arab woman who gave birth to the hero who lifted the lost prestige of the Arab world." Speaking directly to President Bush, Myriam a web user from Algeria, says: "You arrived as a president with missiles, you're exiting as a dog because of a shoe." Salah Salem of Jerusalem cheers Montaza, writing: "He is a journalist full of selflessness. He deserves a statue built in his honour."

A caricature published in the Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat shows a plane-bombing George W. Bush with kitchen utensils and shoes.

caricature Al-Hayat


While the streets in Iraq and across the Middle East fill with Montaza al-Zaidi supporters, a wealthy Saudi, quoted by the website of Al-Arabya, said he would purchase the shoes of the Iraqi journalist for the modest sum of $20 million.

Date created : 2008-12-17

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