Bush’s reaction to shoe-toss reveals his lack of cultural understanding

An Arab reporter flung his shoes at President George W. Bush today.  In characteristic fashion, he took the incident in cowboy stride, but overall his reaction indicated the depths of his ignorance of Arab culture.

Bush called the act an attempt at “attention-grabbing” and compared this to people shouting at a political rally.  Attentiong-grabbing is precisely what shoe-throwing by an Arab is not!

Throwing one’s shoes is a symbolic act of major disrespect and disdain in Arab culture.  Short of throwing stones at Bush, the reporter was decrying him as an oppressor and ignoramus.  In other words, it was a profoundly angry political statement.  (Note also the fact that the act came immediately upon the heels of Bush speaking in Arabic, evidently the straw that broke the camel’s back for the reporter.)

I find it reprehensible that after six years of military intervention in Iraq that Bush hasn’t learned something as simple as this about Arabs!

*sigh Well, let’s consider it that country’s parting message to him…

* * *

For a counter-view regarding shoe-throwing from an Arab, check out As’ad Abu Khalil’s 2007 blog post on the subject, “To throw the shoe or not to throw the shoe: a cultural dilemma.”

Nevertheless, today he reports a Beiruti newspaper headline regarding the incident: “A Double Shoe Strike Almost Hit Bush in His Face: This is the Farewell Kiss from the Iraqis, O Dog.”  (Update 12/15/08: “Is the shoe mightier than the pen (or postcolonial theory)?”)

More from the Angry Arab News Service:

Blog round-up with photos and video:

Update 12/16/2008 more round-up:

And for naysayers, if you won’t listen to me or the Iraqi blogging community, then listen to Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Everyone: please take a moment to consider this “Free Montather” petition.

Update 12/17/2008 more round-up:

I wish all those Arabs cheering the shoe would take down to the streets and demonstrate against their tyrants and against Israel and they can throw their own shoes at their rulers instead of hypnotically watching scenes of the flying shoe, over and over again.

But such is infotainment these days.  Masha’allah.  Well, insh’allah, this will be the last time I’m writing about “shoe-gate.”  Let’s end it on a funny note:

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8 thoughts on “Bush’s reaction to shoe-toss reveals his lack of cultural understanding

  1. I dont care what culture you are from. You do not throw shoe’s at people. What Bush should have done is taken the reporter out back and beat the shit out of him. Then you. You are nothing but another media Jerk off that is too blind to see that Bush has supported and protected your people. Judging from you last name you are just another ungratfull jew with too much to say. Go fuck yourself

  2. Woo-wee. Perhaps you should have paid attention to what the reporter was saying when he tossed the shoes at Bush: we are not welcome in Iraq. Judging from recent decisions by the Iraqi Majlis, we might do well to consider the Arab point of view on the matter.

  3. You arab (small letters intentional) can all go to hell. You have no concept of freedom and would not begin to understand it, even if it were to smack you in the face. You do not deserve to be free. I am truly sorry we ever tried to help you. Our efforts are obviously wasted. Eat your sand and your oil. If your world is the “Cradle of Civilization”, then we are all doomed. I hope you are doomed before me. You deserve it.

  4. Don’t worry about Steve and the other ignorant fool. We have been dealing with these idiots for awhile now. Eventually natural selection catches up with them. They may even earn a Darwin Award when they finally go. Hope they don’t take to many innocent folks with them when it happens.

  5. When I first came to know the happening, really I was not amazed. I felt this outburst as natural as we see here in Kashmir day to day when national leaders of repute are attacked or we Indians saw when late PM Rajeev Gandhi was attacked by a soldier in Sri Lanka in 1987. Bush administration can’t understand the people of Iraq, that’s why they are there for such a long time. Just want to ask and raise question of the legitimacy of being in a country where there is a sovereign government by the Iraqi people now. And moreover, I feel a person belonging to mainstream national journalism can be as national as a policeman. Then why this hubbub?
    I think this act of an Iraqi national has compelled the world to take national sides, ignoring the real question of legitimacy of US in Iraq. Isn’t it? In this Bush showed that he damn care of the wishes of Iraqis whatever they may be. The face of US administration has also been revealed which is proving continually that they have a policy different for their own people that boast for freedom of expression and the policy for Iraqis that denies such luxuries.
    Really this a question of understanding, Bush do not have. This may not be unintentionally.

  6. I agree. We should leave Iraq immediately. You can fend for yourselves. You are not worth another American life. I am certain your hospitable neighbors will treat you kindly. They have certainly taken very good care of the Palestinians.

  7. it’s not a lack of cultural understanding he merely doesn’t share the same cultural values as them so it doesn’t matter to him. If iraq can’t function as a democratic country and they just want to take themselves back another hundred years into the past go right ahead. A lot of iraqi people don’t share the values of this idiot throwing the shoe, maybe he will learn after being beaten to a pulp when someone who is in a higher position of power is speaking shut up and sit down. Far as im concerned most of the middle east is a waste of our time you guys just don’t understand the concept of no being fair and democratic stop oppressing women and teaching your children nonsense about America. If you hate our continent so much dont come here fight another 10 civil wars with the other arab nations for no reason at all.

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