IRAQI ‘SHOE ART’ GETS THE BOOT


Shoe monument in Iraq demolished

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A monument to a shoe thrown at former President Bush is unveiled at the Tikrit Orphanage complex.

Shoe-throwing monument removed for Iraqi orphanage

The monument commemorating the journalist who hurled his shoes at President George W. Bush was taken down a day after it was erected, local officials in Tikrit told CNN.

Assisted by kids at the Tikrit Orphanage, sculptor Laith al-Amiri on Tuesday erected a huge brown replica of one of the shoes hurled at Bush last month by journalist Muntadhir al-Zaidi during a press conference in Baghdad.

But officials from Salaheddin province told CNN that the monument was removed after a request from the central government, which has charges pending against al-Zaidi — now in an Iraqi jail.

After the request was made, Iraqi police visited the location to make sure that the shoe monument was removed.

“We will not allow anyone to use the government facilities and buildings for political motives,” said Abdullah Jabara, Salaheddin deputy governor.

Al-Zaidi’s angry gesture touched a defiant nerve throughout the Arab and Muslim world. He is regarded by many people as a hero, and demonstrators last month took to the streets in the Arab world and called for his release.

The shoe monument, made of fiberglass and coated with copper, consists of the shoe and a concrete base. The entire monument is 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) high. The shoe is 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) long and 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) wide.

The orphans helped al-Amiri build the $5,000 structure in 15 days, said Faten Abdulqader al-Naseri, the orphanage director.

“Those orphans who helped the sculptor in building this monument were the victims of Bush’s war,” al-Naseri said. “The shoe monument is a gift to the next generation to remember the heroic action by the journalist.”

Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi leader toppled by the United States in 2003, was from the Tikrit region.

Al-Zaidi marked his 30th birthday in jail earlier this month. One of his brothers told CNN he “in good health and is being treated well.”

Al-Zaidi’s employer, TV network al-Baghdadia, keeps a picture of him at the top left side of the screen with a calendar showing the number of days he has spent in detention. The network has been calling for his release.

By tradition, throwing a shoe, is the most insulting act in the Arab world.

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5 Comments

  1. brian said,

    January 31, 2009 at 23:47

    ‘“We will not allow anyone to use the government facilities and buildings for political motives,” said Abdullah Jabara, Salaheddin deputy governor’

    This is ironic, as its long been known the US has used Iraqs govt to commit wr crimes…and get away with it. Why did this same govt allow US troops a license to kill iraqis!? The govt is hust showing it really serves the US and NOY iraqis.

  2. Herbert Jean de Grasse said,

    February 1, 2009 at 02:59

    al-Zaidi is a hero, as far as I’m concerned. Most of the world sees him that way. Of course, the puppet government of Iraq sort of has to take the sculpture down. In the US, Bush is no longer president. I’m hoping that Iraq will get a fair just government, just as the US is now working toward one.
    Bush probably deserves a rocket shot at him. However all he got was a shoe.

  3. coffee said,

    February 1, 2009 at 03:41

    if the Iraqis use their democracy similarly to Americans, then they will re-construct shoe sculpture after U.S. forces leave — twice as big

  4. Anonymous said,

    February 1, 2009 at 05:07

    Someone should buy some private property build ANOTHER shoe, along with a statue of Bush, then weld the boot to the Bush statue’s butt, then put the statute on the private property where it can’t be destroyed. Then the shoe thrower should be released from prison, and given a well paying job.

  5. Travis said,

    February 3, 2009 at 00:26

    That monument would only become a centerpiece for hate towards the US, glorifying a disrespectful act. It would have reminded the children’s children and created a tradition of hate. Al-Zaidi could have gotten the point across in a much more respectable manner and not landed himself in jail, where he now belongs for committing and international crime, laws are laws and he knew this when he threw the shoe. As for al-Baghdadia, Letting him go now would only create more people willing to commit to violence to be understood. Which seems almost hypocritical coming from a news media network.


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