Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Shoes Heard 'Round the World

Driving back home on Sunday I was blissfully isolated with big city radio programming, which is much more interesting and diverse than what I'm used to. Going out of range of the compelling sounds, the real world came back into focus as I had no other good radio choices other than NPR news. That's when I got first word that an Iraqi journalist threw not one, but two shoes at President George W. Bush. Undoubtedly, this incredible moment will forever represent the full and final repudiation of Bush's foreign policy legacy. Unfortunately, it may fully represent the world's attitude toward America's world-wide military bullying.

Now the bookends of Bush's presidency will be, first, the egging of his limo in Washington, D.C., during the 2001 inauguration after having stolen his first election. (If you did not see this episode, that's because the corporate establishment press did not cover it.) The second bookend will be the recent incident in the highly secured Green Zone in Iraq.

I thought Dick Cheney promised we would be greeted as liberators? Is this anyway to treat liberators???

Well, what most Americans lack is the perspective of the citizens of Iraq. Because, again, the corporate establishment doesn't allow it. So we generally don't know that Iraqis -- and a vast swath of world citizens for that matter -- despise America's policy of gun-tote diplomacy. Democracy is not a pleasant principle when it is delivered at the point of a gun.

Of course, it does not score America popularity points as we carry through on our principle mission of stealing the Iraqi oil supply. If you still believe otherwise -- including the false premises of WMDs or Iraq complicity in 9/11 -- you probably watch way too much FOX news and probably deserve to get a couple of shoes thrown at you.

This shoe-throwing incident should not be a surprise. The surprise is that it didn't happen earlier. Shoes could rightfully have been tossed by Bush's Katrina victims, torture victims, renditioned victims, domestic spy victims, economic crash victims...you name the rest.

The shoe toss incident reminded me of the poignant speech given by Iraqi journalist, entrepreneur, and activist Salim Talib to the General Assembly of the United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) on Saturday night, December 13, 2008. Talib's speech is provided below. I hope Americans now make an effort to seek out the views and voices of Iraqis like Talib. In this way, we can begin a reconciliation process, including new demands to bring our troops home. Now.

-- Rico Thomas Rico

Iraq Journalist Salam Talib
UFPJ General Assembly
13 December 2008

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