türkçe links to original Turkish article
(HaberTürk Newspaper, 19 December 2016)
//TNT's sixth anniversary edition//
Eight years ago Iraqi journalist Muntazar el-Zeydi threw a shoe
at U.S. President George Bush at a press conference in Baghdad.
He explained to HaberTürk that day that everyone talked about
him and the ensuing eight years. Zeydi said that he will donate
the proceeds of his book, which has been translated into Turkish,
When the U.S.-Iraq war began in 2003 Zeydi was in training to
teach technical courses about motors. Then he decided to become
a journalist and within five years he had risen to news director. He
said that he planned an action against Bush three years before:
"this was definitely not going to be an armed action. Three years
earlier I had come home and made a video saying that I would
take an action against the American president in an individual
role, with no ties to any organization."
"I noted in the video that during the action I might be killed but
I didn't plan the nature of the action. On 13 December 2008 I
got a call from the Interior Ministry asking me to send a camera
to the press conference the next day involving President George
Bush. All that night I thought about what I would do. The next
day I saw that all the channels were reporting that 'the Iraqi
people greeted Bush with roses'."
"This was a big lie so I decided to show how the Iraqi people
felt about Bush. I went into the hall an hour late. When I saw
him I slipped off my shoes and threw them at Bush, one after
another." Zeydi said there were two aims of his action: "the
first was to say that 'the Iraqi people greet you not with roses
but with shoes.' The second was to make a statement against
"After I was arrested the Iraqi police tortured me for three days.
The pulled my teeth out, smacked my ears until they rang and
pulled out my hand and toe nails. Once they realized I wasn't
with any organization they released me three months later in
2009." Nevertheless, Zeydi was continually harassed by the
Iraqi government and ultimately he left the country.
"A number of countries, primarily Switzerland, offered me
political asylum. The only Arab country that did was Lebanon
so I went there." Zeydi married a Lebanese woman and he has
a happy life with a 3 year-old daughter named Anidiye. He has
given up active journalism and does political analysis for TV
stations and newspapers.
"I've set up a aid organization to help refugees from Syria,
Iraq and other countries." Zeydi wrote a book about the day
he threw his shoes at Bush entitled "Bush'a Son Selam" (Last
Greeting for Bush) and it has been translated from Arabic into
English, Chinese and now Turkish.
Zeydi says that he does not regret his action, saying "that day
there was no other way I could show my feelings. If I had had
a chance to speak I would have talked about the Iraqi peoples'
hard feelings . By throwing my shoes I expressed the feelings
of the Iraqi people."
Asked whether he would throw shoes at Bush if he met him
today, Zeydi said "it wasn't a personal thing. That day I said
'stop!' to a politician who had turned my country into hell.
But Bush isn't in office now and I have no feelings toward
him." As for Trump, Zeydi stated that "we don't yet know
Trump's policies. If he acts like an enemy toward the Iraqi
people I will show him a sensible response."