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article imageOne Arab Throws Shoe at Bush, Another Tests American Culture For Same Behavior

By Carol Forsloff     Dec 14, 2008 in Lifestyle
No one told Bush to duck. At a press conference held with Nuri al-Maliki, a man in the press pool threw a size 10 shoe at U.S. president George W. Bush, likely making a statement about how some Iraqis feel.
Many are tired of the American presence in Iraq, and many Iraqis want the U.S. to go home. Just like Americans, they want that gradual withdrawal to take place in a hurry. So if a thrown shoe won’t get attention, what will? Certainly some Iraqi had an opportunity to step right up and say his piece in figurative terms.
The UN mandate for the American presence in Iraq ends at the end of this year, but as recent as June Iraqis were making strong pleas for Americans to get out and rejecting American arguments and notions about agreements. Indeed one key official, Sami al-Askari, a senior level government leader and on the foreign relations committee in Iraq was reported by the Washington Post to say that, "The Americans are making demands that would lead to the colonization of Iraq, If we can't reach a fair agreement, many people think we should say, 'Goodbye, U.S. troops. We don't need you here anymore. "
Michael Ware of CNN was at the press conference shared by Bush and Nuri al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq, when a face in the crowd, identified as an Iraqi, threw a shoe at President Bush and was consequently literally dragged out of the room. According to reports Bush said afterwards, “This was a size 10 shoe he threw at me you may want to know.
Whereas the American media is referring to shoe throwing as a cultural insult, Arab bloggers are having fun with the whole business. This is what one of them, Asa'ad Abu Khalil was discussed as doing by Desert Mirage, a blog that reported an Arab follow up to the event. Khalili poked fun at the whole thing by going outside and one by one throwing shoes at his neighbor.. His neighbor, in turn, could only say nice things in return. Kahalil’s neighbor was reported to have explained, "You, o Arab neighbor, in our American culture, throwing a shoe at somebody is not an insult at all. In fact it is taken as a sign of affection."
The whole incident will be reported in both Arab and American media likely for days, but the best assessment of the whole affair is that of Khalil who moves beyond idle cultural hypotheses to test a reality in the best way a citizen reporter can, by acting out his theories by throwing shoes at his neighbor, something a lot of Americans might like to do but likely wouldn't get Khalil's response.
More about Iraqi, Press conference, Shoe shoe
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