Maybe this is all we can hope for--warcrimeswise. UPDATE III!!!

Shoe-Hurling Iraqi Becomes a Folk Hero

"Hitting someone with a shoe is a deep insult in the Arab world, signifying that the person being struck is as low as the dirt underneath the sole of a shoe. Compounding the insult were Mr. Zaidis words as he hurled his footwear at President Bush: This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog! While calling someone a dog is never polite, among Arabs, who traditionally consider dogs unclean, the words were an even stronger slight." lovers please take note.Update:"The senior lawyer, Dheyaa Saadi, head of the Union of Lawyers in Iraq and one of the countrys most high-profile lawyers, said that he had volunteered to defend Mr. Zaidi if the judge elects to detain him pending further court hearings.I will introduce myself as his lawyer and demand the case be closed and Muntader be released because he did not commit a crime, said Mr. Saadi. He only freely expressed himself to the occupier, and he has such a right according to international law."Under Iraqi law, Mr. Zaidi could face up to seven years in prison for the crime of initiating an aggressive act against a head of a foreign state on an official visit." the street in Baghdad:The next day, Lt. Miller told me that, out of nowhere, the man in the last house had announced that he wanted to apologize for the Shoe Incident, insisting that it not reflect poorly on all Iraqis.I asked Lt. Miller what he said in return. He assured the man that it was OK, that they do not consider one Iraqis behavior indicative of the country, that this was what democracy can look like, etc.And, he said, I told him that a lot of the soldiers thought it was pretty funny. Wednesday, the Iraqi prosecutor called for a seven year prison term for al-Zaidi. Maybe Bush could issue one of his departing presidential pardons!Also: "Iraqi journalist Muntazar al-Zaidi suffered, according to his brother, "suffered a broken hand, broken ribs and internal bleeding, as well as an eye injury" and had to go to hospital after he protested Bush's press conference in Baghdad by throwing shoes at the president."

Margaret O’Brien Steinfels is a former editor of Commonweal. 

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