Shoe-throwing Incidents

Bush Shoeing by Dmitry Borshch

Shoe-throwing (also called shoeing) and showing the sole of one’s shoe as an insult are forms of protest in many parts of the world. Posters of George W. Bush’s face have long appeared through the Middle East with shoes attached to them, and some people have called former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ‘kundara,’ meaning ‘shoe.’ Shoeing received widespread attention after Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw his shoes at then President George W. Bush during a 2008 press conference in Baghdad.

‘This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog!’ yelled al-Zaidi in Arabic as he threw his first shoe towards the president. ‘This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq!’ he shouted as he threw his second shoe. President Bush ducked twice, avoiding being hit by the shoes. Since the al-Zaidi incident, copycat incidents in Europe, North America, India, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Turkey, and Australia have been reported. Shoes are considered unclean in the Arab World, but Matthew Cassel of ‘The Electronic Intifada’ has expressed the opinion that the Western media overplayed the phenomenon as being ‘Arab’ in particular.’

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