Journalist shoe-thrower "represents millions of Iraqis”

The brother of the journalist now famous for hurling his shoes at President Bush said his sibling's actions were "spontaneous" and represented millions of Iraqis who want to "humiliate the tyrant." A geography teacher at a Baghdad elementary school asked her students if they had seen the footage of the shoe-throwing. "All Iraqis should be proud of this Iraqi brave man, Muntadhar. History will remember him forever," she said.

Al-Zaidi's brother described the reporter's hatred for the "material American occupation" as well as Iran's interference in Iraq. That's a view widely held among Iraqis — including many Shiites — who believe the Americans and the Iranians have been fighting a proxy war in their country through Tehran's alleged links to Shiite extremists.

Muntadhar al-Zaidi's feelings were influenced by watching the agony suffered by everyday Iraqis. Most of the reporter's stories focused on Iraqi widows, orphans, and children, said the brother.

Sometimes the 29-year-old journalist would cry. Moved by the tales he reported of poor families, he sometimes asked his colleagues to give money to them. On most nights, he returned to his home in central Baghdad -- one of the country's most violent slums and the epicenter of several of the war's pitched battles.

Dhirgham al-Zaidi said he is "proud" of his brother whose act, while rash, was a statement of behalf of "millions" of other Iraqis. Dhirgham said the shoe throwing was "Iraq's reaction" to the war and years of U.S. sanctions against Iraq before the conflict began. The reporter was not motivated for personal reasons, or because he has "anything against the American people," he said.

The reporter called his shoe-throwing -- a traditional insult in Arab culture -- a "farewell kiss" to a "dog" who launched the 2003 invasion of Iraq.


1 comment:

Grant Montgomery said...

Muntadhar al-Zaidi is expected to appear before a judge Wednesday in a first step of a complex legal process that could end in a criminal trial.

The journalist has been in custody since Sunday, when he gained folk hero status across the Arab world.