Sunday, August 30, 2009

World's third most influential Arab to go free


Iraqi journalist and poet/shoethrower Muntadar Al Zaidi, the world's third most influential Arab, according ArabianBusiness.com, on its 2009 Power 100 List.

by Ann Garrison

Arabian business.com has named Iraqi journalist Muntadar Al-Zaidi the world's third most influential Arab on its Power 100 list for 2009, because:

"Long before he threw a shoe at George Bush, Muntadar Al Zaidi already had a colorful past. An Iraqi journalist who served as a correspondent for the Iraq-owned, Egyptian-based station Al Baghdadia TV, Al Zaidi’s reports often focused on the plight of widows, orphans, and children in the US-led Iraq invasion."


Al Zaidi made history, on December 14, 2008, during Bush's final press conference in Baghdad:




"This is the farewell, kiss, you dog! This is from the
widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq!
"


Journalist, Central America correspondent, and poet John Ross rightly asked, writing in Counterpunch on December 24, 2008 Where is Al Zaidi's Pulitzer?

Al-Zaidi still awaits the prize he so deserves, but, two days ago, on August 28th, 2009, Iraqi authorities announced that he will be released next month, in September, before fulfilling his entire one year sentence,"for good behavior," though it's difficult to believe that literary, artistic, anti-war, and anti-imperial adulation of Mr. Al Zaidi, all over the world, and, his newfound status as the world's third most influential Arab on Arabianbusiness.com's Power 100 list didn't help.

In January 2009, orphaned children in the Iraqi city of Tirkut helped Iraqi Iraqi artist Laith al-Amari erect a six-foot copper and fibreglass monument of a shoe like the ones that Al Zaidi hurled at Bush. Both the children and adult citizens of Tirkut celebrated the shoe monument's unveiling, on January 29, 2009, as cameras whirled and transmitted images all over the world.

Iraq's puppet central government ordered it taken down and destroyed the next day, but the images live.

I was unable to find any shots of the monument's destruction, so here's hoping someone managed to save it, perhaps in an underground tunnel or Tirkut basement, for display, someday, in the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad, which finally reopened in February 2009, with $14 million U.S. dollars---after being bombed, looted, gutted, and finally bolted during the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

The big shoe belongs in the Iraq National Museum as much as the Mona Lisa belongs in the Louvre:

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