Posted by: r.m. | December 17, 2008

shoes and resistance

I asked my students today – first-year college students – what news they’ve heard/read/discussed lately.  I was about to go into our 3rd session on climate change and I wanted to know if any of the students had been following the pre-negotiations negotiations in Poland.  Instead, half the students quickly smiled and enthusiastically began to talk about “the Iraqi journalist who threw two shoes at Bush.” (the other half of the class was quiet – daydreaming perhaps).  The students were excited by the action.

For the past two days, students in all my classes — undergraduates and graduates — have been excited by the action.

Now, the question becomes not only what will happen to Muntadher al-Zaidi and when he will be released (if he will be released) — but the larger question is how many more shoes will be launched towards the heads of occupiers and puppets and oppressors?

Let us also remember that resistance in Iraq existed prior to the shoes-thrown.  And resistance in Iraq will continue to exist after the shoes-thrown.  The question for us is: for those of us inspired, empowered, moved, energized by the action of Muntadher al-Zaidi, what shall we do? individually, what shall we do? collectively, what shall we do?  it is not enough to be inspired and to be moved emotionally. What creates change is action. What inspires action is hope and strategy.

so: are we moved?  where shall we go? how do we replicate and multiply these actions?

by the way, a US writer has a great idea: to send the White House shoes.  Perhaps shoes should be sent to all who support occupation – be they from the US or Arab puppets.

[I write these words as I struggle to stay awake.]



  1. you know the other thing i think about in relation to this action is that because it is unique, different it broke through the media fatigue. there is very little on iraq on a daily basis, i feel. it seems like this new example of al zaidi placed iraqi resistance in the spotlight again challenging that media fatigue–and not just in the west. it is not that other forms of resistance in iraq did not exist before the shoes. it is just that sometimes something creative and refreshing helps put something that should already be in the spotlight every day back where it belongs.

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