Friday, February 20, 2009

Muntather Zaidi, My Hero

Iraqi shoe-thrower's case is adjourned

Throngs crowd a court in support of Muntather Zaidi, the man who hurled his shoes at President Bush. Judges will decide March 12 whether the assault charge is warranted.

By Tina Susman and Raheem Salman, LA Times
February 20, 2009

Reporting from Baghdad — It was the hottest ticket in town. It drew spectators from as far away as Sweden and sparked a scramble for choice seats. Police formed human chains to block the crowds that surged forward to glimpse the star attraction: a defiant-looking man in black loafers.

This time, Muntather Zaidi's shoes stayed put as he went on trial Thursday for flinging his footwear at President Bush during a December news conference in Baghdad. If convicted of assaulting a visiting head of state, the Iraqi journalist could face 15 years in prison. Nobody questions whether Zaidi, 30, hurled his shoes at the president's face during Bush's farewell visit to Iraq on Dec. 14. The act was captured live on TV and has been replayed endlessly, like a spectacular touchdown pass.

Nor does Zaidi deny trying to clock Bush as he stood at a lectern beside Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki that night, shortly before the two leaders sat down to dinner.

On Thursday, standing in the wooden defendant's pen, Zaidi said he acted in a burst of rage as Bush, "smiling that icy smile," spoke of achievements in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion of the country in March 2003 and mentioned his upcoming meal with Maliki.

Zaidi, voice calm but forceful and an Iraqi flag draped like a cravat around his neck, said it was more than he could bear. "I thought about what the achievements were -- killing about a million Iraqis," Zaidi said. Read On

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