One more day in Middle Eastern politics, one more shoe throwing incident. According to Tehran Bureau, a pro-Ahmadinejad politician, Mohammad-Hossein Saffar-Harandi, incurred the shoe-hurling wrath of a Tehran University audience after claiming 10 Basiji militia died during the post-election demonstrations. The former minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance was forced to make a quick exit as the crowd shouted pro-opposition chants.
Somehow I doubt President Bush and Saffar-Harandi will be exchanging shoe-dodging tips anytime soon.
Meanwhile, the original shoe thrower, Muntadhar al-Zeidi, has made it into the news once more. After spending nine months in jail, al-Zeidi was released from Iraqi prison for good behavior in September. In an op-ed that week, he explained that he threw his shoe at the "criminal" President Bush "out of loyalty to every drop of innocent blood that has been shed through the occupation." He also claimed he was tortured in prison by Iraqi officials, saying he was beaten with cables and whips.
While he asserts he is no hero and was just acting out of love of country, that didn't stop reporters in Geneva from giving him a hero's welcome during a press conference on Monday. Al-Zeidi has claimed repeatedly the U.S. is responsible for 1 million Iraqi deaths. But his numbers, like his throwing aim, are considerably off. According to Iraq Body Count, there have been approximately 100,000 Iraqi civilians deaths in violent incidents since the beginning of the war in 2003.
While in Lebanon, I spotted this backpack for sale depicting a "heroic" al-Zeidi throwing his shoe at a cowering President Bush. I ended up spending my money on earrings for my sister instead.