Pakistan and those shoes

December 17, 2008

It seems that everyone is talking about shoes these days, so much so that I expect the expression “to throw a shoe” will soon acquire a meaning far broader than the original incident.

According to The News in a report from Rawalpindi, “the episode of hurling shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush remained talk of the town, as people belonging to different walks of life expressed their extreme excitement over the incident and praised the ‘brave act’ of the Iraqi journalist. ‘The News’ interviewed a number of people who were all praise for Iraqi journalist Muntazar al-Zaidi…” it said.

The shoe-throwing has also fired the imagination of the Pakistan blogosphere, providing a perhaps welcome respite to discussion about the extent of Pakistan’s involvement in the Mumbai attacks. Changing up Pakistan (CHUP) has matched up a YouTube video of Bush in Baghdad with footage of protesters hitting a former chief minister of Sindh province with a sandal.

Other blogs are running with a spoof statement from the Pentagon saying the Americans have proof that the shoes had links to Pakistan. 

For the record, the shoes had no link to Pakistan, nor indeed to any of the other countries that laid claim to them. Reuters reporter Waleed Ibrahim tracked down Zaidi’s brother who confirmed the shoes were made in a Baghdad factory. “One hundred percent they are Iraqi-made shoes,” Udai al-Zaidi said.

(Reuters photo: Donated shoes labelled with names of Iraqis who died during the war in Iraq are displayed during a protest in front of the White House in Washington/Molly Riley)



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