Monday, 15 December 2008



LA Times

Reporting from Baghdad -- President Bush looked slightly
bemused after he ducked to avoid a shoe hurled at him.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki looked mortified, and as
the assailant's second shoe came flying Sunday, he did what
any gracious host would do: reached out and tried to catch
it before it hit his American guest.

Maliki missed, but so did the shoe, landing like the first
one with a loud thud against the wall behind the two
leaders, who held their ground as other journalists and
security officials at a news conference wrestled the
shoe-thrower to the ground. Later, Iraqi journalists
identified him as Muntather Zaidi, a correspondent for
Baghdadiya, a satellite TV channel that broadcasts from

Colleagues said Zaidi has done extensive reporting from
Baghdad's Sadr City district, the stronghold of anti-U.S.
cleric Muqtada Sadr, and was rescued by Sadr's Mahdi Army
militia after being abducted by an unidentified group in
November 2007.

Zaidi was one of several Iraqi journalists attending the
Sunday evening news conference in Baghdad's heavily secured
Green Zone. His outburst came without warning as Bush and
Maliki prepared to answer questions.

The first shoe flew over the heads of other journalists and
might have hit Bush square in the face had he not ducked to
avoid it.

"This is a gift from the Iraqis. This is the farewell kiss,
you dog," the man said, according to a pool translation.

Seconds later, the journalist hurled his other shoe with
similar precision as another Iraqi journalist reached over
in an attempt to stop him.

"This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were
killed in Iraq," he said, according to the translation.

Maliki flung his arm in front of Bush's face, his hand
outstretched like a baseball player reaching for a line
drive in an attempt to block the flying object as it sailed
over Bush's head.

After being pinned to the ground, the shoe-thrower was
dragged out by security guards. Officials from Baghdadiya
refused to comment.

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino reported suffering
a minor eye injury during the melee.

Bush played down the incident.

"All I can report is it is a size 10," he said jokingly.

"So what if a guy threw his shoe at me," the president
added, dismissing it as "one way to gain attention."

No comments: