THROWING SHOES at US President George W. Bush has suddenly become a very popular online game. Or games, actually, because at least two have turned up on the Internet so far.
Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zeidi punctuated a press briefing in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone by throwing his shoes at US President George W. Bush last Sunday, December 14th. Bush successfully ducked the flying footwear, but the moment was captured on video.
Facing the soles of your shoes toward anyone's face, striking them with your shoe soles, or throwing your shoes at them are considered to be grave insults in Arabic cultures. All Arabs regard streets and, by extension, shoe soles as unclean, and view being struck by shoe soles as a form of extreme disrespect. Iraqi al-Zeidi's action was thus an act of outraged protest.
He shouted at Bush, "Here is the farewell kiss you DOG! This is from Widows and Orphans and those killed in Irag! YOU are responsible for the Deaths of THOUSANDS of Iraqis!"
He was right. He was also the first person to confront that strutting, smirking little man, to hold him accountable for his cruel, unnecessary and brutal war of choice against Iraq.
Mr al-Zeidi was immediately tackled by security men and dragged out of the room. The next day, thousands of Iraqis took to the streets to demand al-Zeidi's release. On Tuesday, it was reported that al-Zeidi was "badly beaten in custody," and later reports revealed that he was hospitalised with broken ribs and a broken arm.
Hundreds of attorneys, including some from the US, have offered to defend him without charge.
Online games that enable you to launch virtual shoes at the head of President Bush have become wildly popular literally overnight.
One is called Sock and Awe in a takeoff on the US "Shock and Awe" campaign that kicked off the invasion of Iraq, but the website is now apparently overwhelmed by the crush of visitors. Before it crashed it reportedly had accumulated over 1.4 million hits.
Another website that lets you throw shoes at GW Bush appears to be based in Norway and had recorded over 2.69 million 'hits' on its dodging and weaving Dubya when we viewed it.
There's also an online campaign that's urging people to send all their old shoes to Bush. µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ