x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Tables turned on Bush shoe-thrower

An Iraqi reporter imprisoned for throwing his shoes at George W Bush, found himself on the receiving end of a similar attack.

PARIS // An Iraqi reporter imprisoned for throwing his shoes at the then US president George W Bush found himself on the receiving end of a similar footwear attack in Paris yesterday. Muntazer al Zaidi, whose flare-up against Mr Bush last December turned into a symbol of Iraqi anger, was speaking at a news conference to promote his campaign for victims of the war in Iraq when a man in the audience hurled a shoe at him. It hit the wall next to his head and a scuffle ensued in the audience, television footage showed. French media said the attacker was an exiled Iraqi journalist who spoke in defence of US policy, accusing Mr Zaidi of siding with a dictatorship, before throwing his shoe.

Mr Zaidi's own outburst summed up the feelings of many Iraqis about the US military invasion of their country and the ensuing bloodshed and sectarian killing. Millions of people around the world saw images of him shouting "this is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog," during a news conference by the former US leader, before throwing his shoes at him. Mr Zaidi, a television reporter, was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for assaulting a head of state. This was later reduced to one year and he was released in September.

* Reuters