Bush shoe-ing worst Arab insult
Zaidi's attack was launched with the words
"this is a farewell kiss, you dog"
By Martin Asser
Around the Arab world, if you want to escalate a situation, by saying for example
"I'm going to thump you", add the words "with a shoe"
and you're literally adding insult to injury, at least the threat of injury.
It's that cultural significance that has added real sting to assault
by an Iraqi journalist against US President George W Bush
at a Baghdad news conference.
In Arab culture it's considered rude even to display the sole of one's shoe
to a fellow human being.
Certainly, crossing one's legs ankle-on-knee style should never be done
in a public place for fear of offending the person next to you.
The sensitivity is related to the fact shoes are considered ritually unclean
in the Muslim faith.
In addition to ritual ablutions before prayer, Muslims must take off their shoes to pray,
and wearing shoes inside a mosque is forbidden.
Shoes should either be left at the door of the mosque, or carried
(preferably in the left hand with the soles pressed together).
But beyond the Islamic significance, the dirty and degrading implication of the sole
of a shoe crosses all religious boundaries in the Middle East.
There has been plenty of droll reaction in the wake of Sunday's shoe attack
to experts who have informed the public that "throwing a shoe at someone's face
is considered an insult in Islam ...
But it is worth mentioning that there is quite a rich history when it comes
to shoe-ing incidents involving Iraq and the Bushes.
... others have called Mr Zaidi a hero, for striking a symbolic blow
against someone they hold responsible for devastating wars in the Muslim world
that have cost hundreds of thousands of lives.
... dog kurds on them
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:
"This is from the widows,
and those who were killed in Iraq," he said.