The new culture of shoes in the Middle East
The recent event, during the press conference in Baghdad which was held between the Iraqi Prime Minster and President Bush, has caused a great deal of controversy and media frenzy in the world and particularly in the Muslim world-Arabs and non Arabs, media and public domain. I do not recall such incident committed by a journalist ever in my life time in respect to such officials of high status, the president of any country and a prime minister of another. I must say that it was not the act itself got my attention rather the reaction which has generated. The act itself is personal and emotional and it lost its real national or political value, because it was committed by a journalist. A journalist must detach himself from all of the events and political issues and ought to present the facts as they are because he has given an oath to do so. And the real weapons of any journalist are his pen, tongue, and camera, and certainly his shoes are not included! What is really disturbing in the event is that the Arab and Muslim reaction. The Arab and Muslim Media have exploited the event and turn it into a sacred symbol. This kind of attitude is no stranger to that part of the world.
The majority of Arabs and Muslims often react emotionally and irrationally towards anything to do with their perceived enemy; the United States of America and Israel. The main dynamic force of their reaction is hate towards their enemy. They are consumed by hate and are prepared to transform any thug, criminal, or ignorant individual to a national hero instantly so long as such individual plays on the cords of their hidden hate. Now, in light of this event, the latest hero of many Muslims is a shoe. Poems have been written about this shoe and lately a large replica of this shoe was made and erected in a public area in the city of Tikrit, Saddam Hussain’s birth place (but then it was removed by the Iraqi police one day after).
The interesting thing about the erection of shoe replica in Tikrit is that this City and the rest of Iraq were filled with Saddam Hussain’s statues before the American intervention in 2003. Immediately after the invasion, all symbols of Saddam’s, statues and portraits were brought down and nothing was left to represent Saddam’s image. But now in the City of Saddam Hussian, Tikrit, the only thing which represent Saddam’s legacy is a statue of “Shoe” which I think in reality this is what really Saddam Hussain deserves to be represented by a “Shoe”. Not a bad replacement!!!!