Facts about Muntadhar al-Zaidi
Muntadhar al-Zaidi Biography
Muntadhar al-Zaidi is the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at American President George W. Bush during a news conference in Baghdad on 14 December 2008. Zaidi, 28 at the time of the incident, was a graduate of Baghdad University who had been a reporter for Al-Baghdadia Television for three years. During Bush’s final presidential visit to Iraq, Zaidi stood up in the middle of a press conference and hurled one shoe, then the other, at Bush. He shouted a phrase that has been variously interpreted as “It is the farewell kiss, you dog” and “This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog!” Bush ducked the shoes and was unharmed. Zaidi was tackled and arrested by Iraqi authorities. Though he pled not guilty to charges of assaulting a foreign leader, he was convicted and in March of 2009 was sentenced to three years in prison. He was released from prison on 15 September 2009, and immediately announced that he had been tortured with beatings, whippings and electric shocks while in custody.
Zaidi’s first name is also translated as Muntadhar, Mundadar and Muntazer; some sources spell his last name as Zeidi… … As noted by The Times of London, “Soles of shoes are considered the ultimate insult in Arab culture. After a statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled in Baghdad in April 2003 many onlookers beat its face with shoes.”