Mera Joota Hai Iraqi!

With utmost seriousness, the news clip replays the incident twelve times for our viewing pleasure, while the ‘LIVE’ on the top right-hand of the screen glints promisingly. Ah yes gentle reader, if wishes were horses…  The Guardian helpfully accompanies the clip with cultural commentary for its readers, just in case we were in any doubt as to the symbolic significance of the action:

In the Arab world, throwing shoes at somebody is considered a serious insult, as is even showing them the soles of one’s footwear, as demonstrated by jubilant Iraqis towards the statue of Saddam Hussein as it was toppled in Baghdad during the 2003 invasion.

Always good to be up on native customs in the global village.

In a comment on the incident on Michelle Malkin (obnoxious conservative columnist who writes skin-crawling, spine-chilling and toes-curling-ly noxious posts on everything from race to abortion)’s blog, an outraged commenter says:

Dear Michelle, It is amazing – with all the hoopla about the Secret Service – that a civilian Iraqi reporter, in Baghdad yet, could complete TWO violent shoe-tosses at President Bush without any molesting from his protective detail.

Shocking! After all,

If this reporter form Cairo had had a gun, Bush would have been dead and probably from many bullet wounds.

[Now youre just tantalizing us with what-might-have-beens.]

The man had a virtual eternity to manage his attack. The Secret Service was a disgrace! Argh! Are you as hopping mad as I?”

Stupid secret service! Why didn’t they make everyone strip and sit naked for the press conference!? That way they would have ensured no article of clothing or accessories could have been used as weapons. After all, look what a good job they did in Guantanamo bay…

Apparently Bush stated, “All I can report is it is a size 10.” Possibly he was speaking of his IQ. Ah me! I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in a decade, though I shudder to think of what they’ll do with the journalist. Enjoy!

20 thoughts on “Mera Joota Hai Iraqi!”

  1. hey c’mon at least bush took it in the right spirit. that bit about his IQ was unnecessary

  2. hey raviramanathan, don’t be so sentimental about a dog. learn something from the iraqi journalist – he didn’t beat around bush; he aimed for him!

  3. why can’t “tolernt indians” learn to respect the value of a dog. A dog is equally important as any human being. So, what is wrong in being sentimental abt a dog?
    and abt ‘soleing’ Bush; the whole episode reveald the hidden anger of Iraqis towards the American invasion of iraq. Invasions of all kinds will be resisted. What do u think why Ram is being burnt in the South and not Ravana…
    der is no universal national/international god; “Bushs of all kinds” should remember it.

  4. There’s even a game on throwing shows at Bush, and I think the site is Russian!

    Throwing shoes is insulting in India as well. I;ve seen fake funeral processions with a man’s photo with several pairs shoes being carried away. The BSp’s slogan in UP used to be “tilak, tarazu aur talwar/ maaro inko jootay char”. Brahmin, Vaish and Kshatriya castes, let’s beat them up with shoes. This was double-edged coming from a Dalit community ordained by caste to take away dead buffaloes, skin them, use the hide for making shoes… the institutionalised humiliation was now being returned.

  5. The journalist called Bush a dog. It’s about effect sometimes, so don’t be such a Maneka Gandhi.

  6. @bush as dog

    so what? i think one should not humiliate a dog like this.
    yea, it s a good for nothing computer game. after all the simulacra of WAR (on iraq or terror) will benefit only those weapon sellers.
    and our ‘patriotic’ missions of “war on terror” will aid such global business only. The heroes of mumbai turnt into a weapon selling Ad, unfortunately. The world is of course a satire written with blood. How cruel!

  7. @ranju radha

    You need to lighten up a bit methinks ;) There’s enough gloom and doom without manufacturing it constantly don’t you think? Have you not heard the immortal Hindi film line “kutte! main tera khoon pi jaaoonga!”…now we could argue its not only insulting to dogs but also insulting to perfectly valid dietary choices. Nothing wrong with drinking blood, the English even make a sausage out of it called black pudding….but ah! no sausage can quite equal the nan-daal pleasure of paaji brandishing a shovel at a cringing villian….

  8. Thanks for link Shivam,
    One of the many priceless comments come from Abdullah who says :

    Comments: the best game in the NET. I sugesst to Bush to do this business after 22 January. He will make a lot of fortune by makking this in reality.

  9. @aarti

    what i can say about the hindi film “kutte” and “khoon” is that such ideological dilemmas arise from a cultural bias upon which one builds one’s own ideas abt the world., whter it be dietary habit or marrying beta/betti…. the valorisation of “khoon peena” and the degradation of “dogs” (remember, many derogatory casteist remarks has connotations based on dog)…no need to mention honor killings… so whether we argue or not, such cultural biases need not be celebrated. though one needs to respect differnce in culture. that’s my view.

  10. certainly cultural biases need not be celebrated, but I am also of the opinion that to constantly mine language for this or that prejudice/bias/stereotype etc is to deprive it of much if its expressive power. A swear or an insult is precisely that, and I think we should have a less ideological and a more performative attitude when it comes to profanity. I am the last person to condone casteism, but I am also not so hot on this drive to constantly cleanse language. Further, we presume that the recipient of speech has no power to talk back. So i am not so invested frankly in navel-gazing about what anthropomorphic biases the Iraqi journalist was marshalling when he called bush a ‘dog’. There is a time certainly for that sort of exercise, but its tiresome for me to approach each and every action and situation in the world as if I’m writing a research paper…

  11. there are two possible readings
    1) Bush should not have been insulted like this
    2) a dog should not have been insulted by calling bush a dog

    though i agree with the first case as any human shud not be insulted. BUt the given the context of America’s iraq invasion i would stand by the journalist who threw shoe at Bush.

    and abt cultural biases i was only looking at my cultural surroundings in india. i know nothing abt iraq.. but we conveniently name dogs to show our hatred such as Kaiser, Jimmy, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma gandhi, hitler etc..
    a killer is hidden in our humane interventions whter it be naming, throwing, burning …

    people who are being tortured by the lang. (even the standardisation of lang) will try to question each and every usage. it cant be limited to wrting research papers.. it s part of the day-to-day lived experience. it s a way of living!

  12. Hmmm… the arab threw and the american ducked.

    Not sure why Indians are getting so excited.

  13. puzzeled: because some of us are cheerfully unconstrained by national boundaries or identities when it comes to our peeves! When the whole world is a stage, as the bard said, how many more things to laugh at and make fun of dontcha thunk?

  14. Aarti, careful, you may be the one in danger of becoming a laughingstock. ;-)

  15. Puzzled, be careful too. You might turn out to be another duck whose reflexes would be challenged!

  16. Okay people, I think this post has had enough ‘discussion’. And really there is only so much that can be said about George Bush and Shoes, so I am shutting down comments…Lots of stuff to actually discuss, say K’s post on Kashmir, the new Surrogacy Bill, the new terror law…Go! :)

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