Of all the stories of the season—the collapse of this, the collapse of that, the suspension of alternate-side parking during snowstorms—the greatest has been the one about the Iraqi journalist Muntader al-Zaidi, who threw his shoes at President Bush. The “Bush shoes” were destroyed by investigators, but someone tracked down the manufacturer in Istanbul, who has received orders for tens of thousands of pairs. Meanwhile, Zaidi was beaten by the security detail and tortured in jail. His brother Uday was finally allowed to visit him. This poignant detail was in yesterday’s Times: “Uday al-Zaidi said his brother told him that he had bought the shoes—used—at a market in Cairo.”
Before leaving office, George Bush should pardon Muntader al-Zaidi. The guy was wearing used shoes, for god’s sake. I hope he survives and is celebrated as a great folk hero who will live forever in the hearts of peace-loving people all over the world.
Merry Christmas, Mr. Bush. Happy New Year, Mr. Maliki. Free Muntader Al-Zaidi!