Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shoes Thrown at Bush: Long Live Freedom

Earlier this week, Muntadar al-Zaidi, an Arab journalist, threw his shoes (one at a time) at President Bush during news conference along with Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki. Bush ducked, both shoes missing him.

Despite the obvious break down in security, the man was wrestled to the ground and arrested. Bush went on, without really breaking stride.

The aftermath is more interesting. If this would have been in Saddam Husein's Iraq, the attacker would have been shot.

Shoe throwing, and specifically showing the sole of the shoe to someone, is viewed as an insult in Islamic culture. So not only was the man attempting to harm him physically, he was attacking him personally.

What was the reaction by the Arabs and other middle easterners? Glee.

We would expect nothing less from their local media. We know we are dealing societies comprised of nitwits, dolts and hatemongers. We expect this. We even get it here in the US with many of the Bush haters. (Again, nitwits, dolts and hatemongers.)

But what they fail to mention is how this very act and response (from the offended party) shows how democracy is flourishing in a part of the world where this would not be tolerated. What would have happened if this occurred in Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Oman, Yemen?

The real story here is that this opinion can be expressed and the offender can actually live to tell his story, even becoming a local hero for those who are hard-up for heroes.

Long live freedom. Long live democracy.

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