Looks like the Iraqi people are on to something. When a member of the Iraqi press corps (who knew there was an Iraqi press corps?), one Muntader al Zaidi, threw his shoes at President Bush The Younger the other day he started a trend (and who knew they had trends either, other than avoiding shoppers wearing baggy clothing and a crazy look in their eyes?). Next thing you know ordinary Iraqi citizens are throwing shoes at American soldiers on patrol and anti-U.S. rallies are springing up, featuring the usual posters and chanting but also a healthy serving of lobbed footwear. Apparently in the Arab world tossing a shoe is the ultimate insult, indicating that your intended target is lower than the dirt beneath your feet.
Seems a pretty tame ultimate insult, a far cry from mobilizing armies, bombing cities, hanging a country’s leader and hiring mercenaries to shoot unarmed civilians in the street. That seems to trump tossed shoes in the ultimate insult department any day of the week. So does suicide bombing, but that’s a point that can only be made once. Be that as it may, the shoe-tossing seems to have energized Iraq into adopting a very American tradition: mocking the powerful while protesting their lousy policies. While in the Iraq of Sadaam Hussein such demonstrations were not unheard of, they were never aimed at Hussein himself. No sense pissing off a guy who might take the opportunity to kill you and your entire village with nerve gas. Those protests were staged events usually aimed at Iran, America or low oil prices.
So at least one good thing has come out of the Iraq war. The shoe toss is a relatively harmless way of letting somebody know that their conduct has been less than stellar. Perhaps if someone had tossed a shoe or two at Sadam Hussein during his rise to power he would have realized that he was being a little too heavy handed for their liking, maybe even have knocked some sense and humility in the form of a bruised forehead into him. Odds are that’s not very likely given his homicidal tendencies, but the newfound realization among Iraqis that it is possible and even desirable to criticize power will prevent the next would-be tyrant from emulating Sadam.
Next thing you know, these people might actually develop a sense of humor, then all bets are off for aspiring dictators. If somehow electricity could be restored on a permanent basis like it used to be in Iraq, people could watch comedy TV shows at night lampooning some of the medieval-minded mullahs who want to give Iraq the dubious gift of their bloodthirsty leadership. There’s no shortage in that nation of such Koran-thumping cavemen screaming about placing women under house arrest like a proper Muslim nation and imposing Sharia law, which is basically an excuse to chop off the heads and hands of anyone who commits the unpardonable offense of thinking. An actual TV pilot has been produced and, pending the rebuilding of telecommunication centers, is scheduled to air on Iraqi television soon. It is called “Today’s Thrown Shoe!” Here are some excerpts:
HOST: “Welcome to ‘Today’s Thrown Shoe!’ I am your host Mazda D’Jeep Nissan and this is my colleague Dusty Robes. Today we will be discussing developments in Iraqi politics, such as they are. At the end of the show, our studio audience will be invited to throw their shoes at whoever they feel most deserves the denigration and shame of being the lowest of the low. Our first guest is Imam Wala Wala Wassintun, the leader of the ‘Let’s Lock Up Our Women and Date Teenaged Boys Again Militia.’ Wala Wala, welcome to Today’s Thrown Shoe! So tell me, how did you come to form the Let’s Lock Up Our Women And Date Teenaged Boys Again Militia?”
IMAM: “As you should be aware, Westernized Dog, all good Muslims must be masters of their own households, and women must never speak.”
HOST: “You mean not speak until they’re spoken to? Are you some sort of magician?”
IMAM: “Silence, rabid cur! I said they must not speak! Who said anything about speaking to them? They are only women!”
DUSTY ROBES: “Whoa, take it easy, scrotum breath! Let’s talk about this teenage boy fixation, shall we?”
IMAM: “Get your own little oasis boy, infidel scum! Mine belongs to me alone!”
HOST: “You’re going to have to hold that thought, Chesta al Molesta, it’s time for a commercial break.”
DUSTY ROBES: “And now a word from our sponsor, Acme Prosthetics. If you lose a limb to a roadside bomb, there’s only one fake limb store you’ll need! Visit Acme Prosthetics, your one-stop shopping destination for state-of-the-art legs, arms and even hands. That’s right, folks, no longer will you be shunned at the communal eating bowl when your right hand gets blown off by a holy man! Looks like the real thing and no one will ever know you’re dipping into the hummus with a piece of plastic-covered steel! So real even your Imama won’t know!”
HOST: “Our next guest is Major General Hartz. N. Meinze of the United States Occupational Forces. So General, when are you taking your trigger-happy cowboys home? Is there something left standing in Iraq you feel the need to blow up before you go?”
GENERAL “Well sir, that will be up to our next President, Barack Hussein Obama.”
DUSTY ROBES: “Don’t pull out the Hussein middle name card on us, General, we are not fooled into thinking Obama is a Muslim any more than your voters were. And besides, Hussein is not exactly a name that warms the hearts of Iraqis. Try that one on the illiterate Taliban, Camel-Dung-For-Brains!”
GENERAL: “Are you implying that the Iraqi people no longer welcome liberation?”
HOST: “Oh, we desire liberation, alright, General Motorhead. From you!”
GENERAL: “But what about the success of the surge?”
DUSTY ROBES: “The success of the surge? If you never invaded us there would be no need for a surge! That is like breaking every bone in a man’s body but one, and then breaking that one as well!”
GENERAL: “But what about Sadam Hussein? Didn’t we get rid of him for you?”
HOST: “And replaced him with what? A puppet government and a bunch of crazy boy-loving militias? You think all those roadside bombs are fireworks celebrating our independence? Sadam was not immortal, you know. He’d have been gone soon enough, and without all the blowing up and the maniac al Qaeda clowns showing up to shoot at you in our backyard. How would you like to have suicide bombers making every shopping trip a game of Russian Roulette?”
GENERAL: “Our president decided to fight them here rather than at home.”
DUSTY ROBES: “So you shit on my carpet so you don’t have to shit on your own?”
HOST: “And you knew these madmen were in Afghanistan! Why not finish them off there?”
GENERAL: “There’s too many mountains and hiding places there, gentlemen. Our President figured it would be easier on flat terrain.”
HOST: “Your president also figured the economy was in good shape, and that it would be a good idea hand over the wealth of your nation to his rich friends, did he not? Praise Allah your Congress didn’t let them get their hands on your precious social security money or your aged ones would be the ones throwing their shoes at your president.”
GENERAL: “Well, he’s on his way out now and the new guy is a lot smarter…”
HOST: “A retarded goat is a lot smarter than Bush! Well, we have heard enough and our time is up. So we turn to our studio audience with the question: Who gets todays thrown shoes? Will it be Major General Hartz N. Minds or Imam Wala Wala Wassintun?
DUSTY ROBES: “And today’s thrown shoe goes to… Both men! Don’t worry, gentlemen, they are only sandals.” At this point the two men are pelted with sandals and insults while the credits roll. Dusty Robes, the comic sidekick, leads the mayhem with whacky gestures and holding up bull’s eyes in front of the day’s guests while the host says “This is Mazda D’Jeep Nissan from the Bagdhad Studios of the Iraq Attack Broadcasting Company reminding you to tune in tomorrow when our guests will be former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Temporary-Until-America-Leaves-Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki, debating who has kissed more of George Bush’s ass. Thank you and goodnight.”