Should Muntadar al-Zaidi be welcomed as a hero?

UPDATE: Muntadar al-Zaidi has just been released.

Muntadar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist that got you all talking around the world, for throwing his shoes at former US President George W Bush during a news conference is due to reach the end of his prison sentence.

His family is reported to be preparing a hero’s welcome if he leaves prison, as expected. Should he come home to a hero’s welcome?

Back in December when the story broke we asked if Mr. Al Zaidi was a source of pride or shame for his country. And when he got his three year sentence we asked if this was justice.

This blogger calls it the feel good story of the day, and mentions some of the gifts he’d been promised, which include an Iraqi living in Morocco promising to send his daughter to be al-Zaidi’s wife. Does he deserve all this?

Now that his sentence is coming to an end, should he be celebrated as a hero? Or has he served the sentence he deserved for being disrespectful?

64 Responses to “Should Muntadar al-Zaidi be welcomed as a hero?”

  1. September 14, 2009 at 10:30

    Muntadar al-Zaidi will get another fifteen minutes of fame whether he wants it or not. Faux TV will be outraged all day long!

  2. 2 anu_d
    September 14, 2009 at 11:47

    Muntadar’s was a shameful act…..that despite all the anger ( justified or unjustified) against Bush can’t be endorsed in any civil society.

    Welcoming Muantadar is an immature act that doesn;t warrant any pubilicity

    • September 15, 2009 at 19:07

      Horse Feathers! A shameful act is dropping bombs on innocents for “mistaken” reasons, and inflicting a horrid occupation on a helpless people! Throwing shoes is relatively harmless sport and, in this case, the shoes should have been grenades! Watch out for those “Civil Societies”, they usually have enough weaponery to damage “non-civil” societies such as: KOREA, VIET NAM, PANAMA, GRENADA, AFGANISTAN, IRAQ…… more to be announced sooner or later! And remember, a “civil society” never attacks anyone who can hit back…

      • 4 pdxmishl
        September 16, 2009 at 17:39

        I heard his translated words yesterday that stirred me to be proud of him, as I was, at the time. He stated that those shoes had stepped, and walked through the devestation, the blood, and the tragedies wreaked upon Iraqi’s by Bush/Cheney lies. I still want to do more than throw a shoe at Bush and Cheney, Rove, and the rest.

  3. 5 Peter Sunday Nyarwa
    September 14, 2009 at 12:09

    Muntadar al-Zaidi may have wanted to potray his sentiments but that was shameful to the host country and disrespectful.He should have used more diplomatic means to potray his message such as perharps writing an article.How ever the family has reasons to celebrate his release but he doesnt desere a wife for that.Not at all.

  4. 6 Peter Sunday Nyarwa
    September 14, 2009 at 12:11

    Muntadar al-Zaidi may have wanted to potray his sentiments but that was shameful to the host country and disrespectful.He should have used more diplomatic means to potray his message such as perharps writing an article.How ever the family has reasons to celebrate his release but he doesnt deserve a wife for that.Not at all.

    • 7 sadaf seema
      September 15, 2009 at 09:28

      well here i want to clear one thing , Muntadar al-Zaidi is the mirror of the muslim world [ common and innocent people] on which bush siege their land , honour, freedom and humiliate at all unexpected level, and Iraq is still under the control of U.S.A . and yes we can communicat in civilized way & we all are doing but when the person understand only the language of hiting then u should speak in his tone. And whether he deserve a wife or not is none of your business. atleast he is a coureageous man on the earth, as he is the man who prefer to die like a knight , rather then to live like a mouse.

      • 8 george riveros
        September 30, 2009 at 19:18

        I agree with you 100%, what boder me is that he missed. From the begining this was a war for profit only. Specially Mr. Dick Cheney and Mr. Bush had been the worst terrorist of the XXl century. Killing 250,000 children under the age of 5 yrs. old and 450 thousand soldiers and innocent men and womens. Every day in USA they counted the american soldiers. IF a country would invade the U.S. we will do the same thing to defend us from the invadersDon’t you think so? A civiilize way will be would be throug the United Nation, but they didnt want to do a civilezed way. They did it, the Cheney/ Bush Way. Totally worong.

    • September 16, 2009 at 14:37

      One must understand the pain and frustration the journalist and indeed the whole of Iraq felt when the country was invaded on false pretexts and thousands lost their lives. There was nothing civilized or diplomatic about the invasion carried out by Bush and his gang. Bush did not sit down and write an article. He threw bombs and missiles at innocent people of Iraq and caused a lot of suffering. Iraq deserves to celeberate acts of bravery by by its people.

  5. 10 Dennis Junior
    September 14, 2009 at 12:16

    **Should Muntadar al-Zaidi be welcomed as a hero?**

    No, But, he is going to get a hero’s welcomed when released from Prison…So, in reality it is up to the people of Iraq on the level of celebrations.

    =Dennis Junior=

    • 11 Dennis Junior
      September 15, 2009 at 12:32

      After some thinking, I am glad, that he (Muntadar Al-Zaidi) was released from Prison Custody and, I am waiting for the information about his time in custody…

      =Dennis Junior=

    September 14, 2009 at 12:19

    He is a unique hero though it might have cost his life. He should count himself lucky to have been in a civil company. By all means he should be welcomed by his admirers.

  7. 13 patti in cape coral
    September 14, 2009 at 12:42

    I don’t see anything particularly heroic in his action, but he did risk his life to do it, if he was aware of the penalties. And whether it was heroic or not, he expressed what a lot of people were feeling at the time, so he will get a hero’s welcome.

  8. 14 Jennifer
    September 14, 2009 at 13:00

    Re:which include an Iraqi living in Morocco promising to send his daughter to be al-Zaidi’s wife. Does he deserve all this?

    No, this man does not “deserve” this woman. A woman is not “property” to be traded or gave away.

    Re: should he be celebrated as a hero? Or has he served the sentence he deserved for being disrespectful?

    This man is not a hero by any means. He was disrespectful. He would be a hero if he told the father off that offered such a horrible thing.

  9. 15 Nigel
    September 14, 2009 at 13:15

    While we might not like the way he chose to signal his disgust, Muntadar was expressing the feelings of many many people all over the world. Sure he will be welcomed back as a hero by many in Iraq but so what? The grind continues and Bush is out of office. Lets find a way to throw a legal shoe at Bush by having him indicted by the International Criminal Court.

  10. 16 Ann
    September 14, 2009 at 13:46

    Although I normally do not like violence, I have to confess that Muntadar al-Zaidi’s gesture pretty much summed up how millions of people across the world feel about Bush and I think if I met Mr Mr. Al Zaidi I’d give him a hearty pat on the back. His behaviour was a lot more ‘civil’ than telling cynical wicked lies to justify the war in Iraq and a whole lot more civil than being responsible for the death of thousands of innocent Iraqi people. And lets not mention the water-boarding….

      September 14, 2009 at 16:07

      @ Ann

      Quite true,
      Victims of humiliation ought to refuse to take it sitting down. Leaders too should be made of flesh and blood like the rest of us. Some of the things you mentioned about Iraq have many a times given me a heartache too.

      By the way, I missed your contributions for quite some times. Hope you are okay.

      • 18 Ann
        September 14, 2009 at 17:16

        Thanks for your kind wishes Arthur – they mean a lot to me. Patt was also very sweet to me too – I was a bit unwell there for a bit (I have a chronic illness and my health goes up and down) but I’m feeling a bit better now and it’s lovely to be back and see all the faces 🙂

  11. 19 scmehta
    September 14, 2009 at 14:22

    It was` an outrageous and despicable act ( shoe- throwing at the president), violating and shaming the civilized behaviour expected of any sane person. If these are the kind of persons to get a hero’s welcome, then we should be rewarding all those kids/adults who insult their parents/guides/teachers.

  12. 23 steve
    September 14, 2009 at 15:16

    When in the west to we welcome people who at least attempt to commit acts of violence? The Lockerbie bomber got a heroe’s welcome in Libya, and even though this guy didn’t hurt anyone, he at least tried to. Why is that heroic? We in the west wouldn’t give any sort of welcome to someone like that.

    • September 14, 2009 at 15:52

      Mr Bush is an ideological war criminal who was democratically elected by his people twice unfortunately, did he deserve the shoe being thrown at him (the biggest and most hurtful insult that a man in the Arab World can take)?! Yes, absolutely he did… The Lockerbie bomber caused 300 or so civilian deaths, so may be he deserves an infantile size shoe being thrown at him, but for sure Mr Bush did deserve a gigantic (not ten size) shoe being thrown at him for all the xtremely huge numbers of innocent casualties he’s partially or totally responsible for, or are the Lockerbie victims more precious than us innocent Iraqi civilians ?! If that’s the case then the story is completely different. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

      • September 15, 2009 at 09:46

        actually I’m from “the West” and I’d give him a hero’s welcome in my house. Bush was a brute and probably the most dangerous man on the planet

  13. 26 Henry Nyakoojo, Kampala
    September 14, 2009 at 15:22

    The shoe journalist is a hero. A pity his missile missed Dubya.

  14. 27 Dinka Aliap Chawul,Kampala-Uganda
    September 14, 2009 at 15:26

    The actions taken by El-Zaidi against a seating leader who was elected by its people like president G.W Bush were not only disgraceful to the Iraq as a country but it has highlight his own lacking of professionalism as a journalist,El-Zaidi has set a bad precident for the world at large.Journalist must learns how to restrain from violent & uses other peaceful prostest such as that of micro-phone to express their feeling whenever they like because all leaders’ policies wouldn’t be so favourable to journalist desires on everything.

  15. September 14, 2009 at 15:38

    Hi… I couldn’t help but smiling at this story since its start in last December… 1stly, Mr Bush isn’t a welcomed guest in my Iraq to start with, his visit to Iraq was sudden and unplanned for before, Iraqis didn’t have their say about whether they do have a choice in whether to receive him as a guest or not, may be because they do not dare or do not have the authority to tell him that “We cannot have you here”, but at the same time Muntadar as an Iraqi journalist shouldn’t have behaved like this, I mean he’s a journalist, and his mood and attitude should be up to the standards of his profession, so his actions were idiotic and childish, but at the same time Muntader is an Iraqi citizen, and his actions have put out the fire that’s been burning for years inside the hearts of so many Iraqis (including mine). I recall feeling so happy and relieved at watching the incident on TV at the time, I even keep a video of it in my cell phone till now. So yes, Muntader is an honourable hero to so many Iraqis, yet to me, he’s kind of a childish hero ! 🙂

  16. 29 Ibrahim in UK
    September 14, 2009 at 15:48

    I wonder what the Iraqis think of it. Was Bush a “guest” in their country or was he the leader of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. If a defeated Britain was being visited by Hitler, what would the British reaction be? Would the assassination of such a figure be considered a punishable offence, or even poor taste?

  17. 30 vijay pillai
    September 14, 2009 at 16:03

    I remember how a man in his early sixites was so alert not once but twice in awading the shoes while the PM stood there watching .Hero here was the President and not the journalist whover one view the end of dictatorhip of sadam and the democratisation of iraq .

  18. 31 Tom K in Mpls
    September 14, 2009 at 16:31

    Three of the most inane topics in a row I have ever seen.

  19. 32 Jean Sommer
    September 14, 2009 at 16:43

    I would have been too polite and too afraid of the consequences to do what he did even though I agreed with his viewpoint. He’s served his sentence. I’m glad he’s being welcomed as a hero now.
    Wilson insulted Pres Obama by calling him a liar (not quite as big an insult as shoe throwing perhaps}
    Both men were showing their frustration spontaneously.

  20. 33 Citizen Dan
    September 14, 2009 at 17:07

    Dan in Oregon here. Thank you for the link! This YouTube clip from CBS is the most revealing footage of the incident I’ve yet seen. For the first time, I see intent! Until now I had only seen President Bush easily dodging projectiles. I could not judge the harm intended, or if Mr. el-Zaidi was perhaps only making a political gesture. Now I see the anger-propelled velocity, and his relatively short distance from his target.

    My opinion? Mr. el-Zaidi should have been made to suffer only a standard punishment for simple assault, whatever that is/may have been at the time under the then-current Iraqi regime. I understand there are worldwide implications, so I would akso understand a judge , representing that government , throwing the book at him (No pun intended.), but within my stated constraints . Given the (ridiculously) massive extenuating circumstances, the fact that no harm was done, and following Mr. Bush’s own example as shown here; I agree, this was a free-speech matter; it should have been treated as any arguement-turned-violent between any two people. No less, no more.

  21. 34 Bert - USA
    September 14, 2009 at 17:25

    I’m just glad he’s alive, doing well, and released from prison. The guy did what many people have wanted to do for a long time. In that culture, heaven only knows what end he may have come to. Can you imagine what his life expectancy would have been in Saddam’s regime?

    As to geting a hero’s welcome, well, that’s a little silly. I would expect his family to be relieved and elated. Maybe al-Zaidi should reflect on the fact that he could commit such an act and not be executed for it, only because the object of his ire, for whatever incorrect reasons, rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein.

  22. 35 steve
    September 14, 2009 at 17:26

    Okay people, let’s think hard here. Say he had thrown a shoe at Obama. Would you want him to get a heroes welcome?

  23. 36 steve
    September 14, 2009 at 17:41

    Calling someone a liar is a bit different than assaulting someone.

  24. September 14, 2009 at 17:42

    What he did was shameful. He could have thrown other dangerous objects and put the life of a foreign dignitary in real danger. So he deserved the prison sentence. In no way should his grotesque actions be celebrated. If foreign visitors were subjected to this humiliating experience, civility and respect would simply go down the drain.

    • September 17, 2009 at 11:29

      Pancha Chandra, since when has Bush become a respectable foreign dignitary? Iraqis do not accord this kind of “welcome” to all foreign dignitaries.

  25. September 14, 2009 at 18:26

    Hero? No, he missed!

  26. 40 nora
    September 14, 2009 at 18:41

    When you pay the price for a political statement, do the time and get out, your people throw a party of gratitude that you are back. Normal, normal, normal.

    Remember, it was Bush’s finest moment as a President. No fault, no foul in the end.

  27. 41 Michelle from Jamaica
    September 14, 2009 at 19:48

    Get a life people, who cares!!!

  28. 42 alan cross
    September 14, 2009 at 23:46

    Mr Bush is the real hero, He shed the blood of his countrymen to bring peace and stability to iraq, blame iran china and russia for funding the terrorists, they are scared for iraq to suceed into demorcarcy,, shoe thrower is ignorant un educated thug.

  29. 43 Tan Boon Tee
    September 15, 2009 at 03:16

    Oh, this is quite a ridiculous if not impossible question. Why “should”?

    To many Iraqis, he had acted bravely, perhaps heroically. To outsiders, his act was unnecessary and unusually rude.

    That is it.

    September 15, 2009 at 05:55

    Nice one Stan!

    When I was at school during the Punk and ska fad we all had the biggest Dr Martin boots some twenty laces up. No way he would have missed.

    Shame they where not back in fashion at the time.

  31. 45 osuagwu
    September 15, 2009 at 07:57

    Imagine if the people of USA take their anger over 911 event to street and attack visiting heads of states and are given token punishment ?

  32. 46 osuagwu
    September 15, 2009 at 08:20

    I would like ‘Mr Iraqi journalist’ and his admirers to do a research on the following :
    1.VIP protection unit,
    2.Special operatives.
    After the research on the concepts ‘mr Iraqi journalist’ and his disciples would come to appriciate that he put his life into very grave danger.He could have been killed by operatives who would probably not be ever prosecuted because of the special nature of their duties.

  33. 47 Sho Cole (from Freetown)
    September 15, 2009 at 10:39

    There are codes and conducts that govern jounalism of which one is to stay impartial. Al Zaidi’s act is very uncivil and moreso when it’s done to a visiting president (be it GW Bush or not). Such act rather stain the outlook of jounalism and paint an ugly picture of whether journalist should be allowed close to VIP personalities.

    Rather that hail him, we should search our minds to erase the image of a shoes terrorist journalist that he represent to a better image that society can always look back on. “Journalist should report the story and not be the STORY”!!!

  34. 48 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    September 15, 2009 at 13:34

    Throwing a projectile at a sporting event is an act of hooliganism. Throwing a projectile at a news conference has nothing whatsoever to do with freedom of speech. The act is not courageous and the thrower is not a hero: he is a hooligan.

  35. 49 Gary Paudler
    September 15, 2009 at 14:54

    Without causing harm, he beautifully expressed the frustration and anger that many of us felt. Even if he had connected as precisely as possible, no serious or lasting damage would have occurred. There are a billion people around the world who would like the guts and the opportunity to carry out such a symbolic act.
    I’d gladly throw my shoe at Bush; still laced to my foot. Bush caused untold suffering to millions of people – he deserves far worse.

    • 50 Maxine
      September 17, 2009 at 06:01

      So Saddam Hussein was Mr Nice Guy eh? despite the many thousands of dead buried in mass graves (Genocide) in Iraq. The Chemical warfare on Iran., not to mention his murderous treatment of the Kurds), is that O.K. too?. Mr Bush was a brave man to pursue the enemies of U.S.A, (9/11. three thousand civilians murdered). The shoe thrower was an ignorant man. I’m beginning to think that many people out there have selective memories. The truth will set you free.

  36. 51 Gebreamlak Atirsaw ethiopia
    September 15, 2009 at 14:59

    thought bushs mistake is beyond forgiveness A journalist’s weapon should always be his pen , his writing.

    September 15, 2009 at 15:03

    El-Zaidi release was meritorious. He should not have been jailed in the first instance having comitted no offence

  38. 53 Tom D Ford
    September 15, 2009 at 15:16

    “Should he come home to a hero’s welcome?”


    That are not enough people in the world with the courage to confront powerful and evil men. The story of this man’s courage should be told and retold around the world, in all religious houses of worship, in schools, and around family dinner tables, to encourage more people to throw off the regimes of fear, intimidation, and Dominance.

    Muntadar al-Zaidi served his time in jail for his offense against civility, now it is time for Bush to be tried and to serve the time he has earned for far worse offenses against Humanity, and Bush ought to serve his time in an Iraqi jail, under Iraqi conditions.

    Muntadar al-Zaidi is a hero.

    Bush is an anti-hero.

  39. September 15, 2009 at 15:47


    @Stan that’s a good one. Should receive a hero’s welcome only if he had gotten his target. Otherwise no.

  40. 55 MOUDU KAY
    September 15, 2009 at 16:43

    Bush deserved worse. this guy is truly a hero and he should be wwelcomed as such. afterall he made the most explicit and bold stetement that any body so affected by the Bush war could make. his shoe anticts was just an explosion of the grievances that fill so many hearts.

  41. 56 Colin Sundaram
    September 15, 2009 at 17:05

    15. 09. 09

    Dear Ros,

    This was a dastardly act. We all know why America sent its forces to invade Iraq and we all have different opinions on the war. One thing I’m happy about the war is that Saddam Hussein is no more the President of Iraq. And we all know that this hero of a section of Iraqi’s would have defecated in his bed in case he dreamed doing such a heroic deed to a foreign head standing next to Saddam Hussein when he was President. It is not worth discussing.

    Collin Sundaram

  42. 57 margaret
    September 15, 2009 at 17:14

    It depends on your point of view whether he is hero vs villain. I can see both sides of this issue of a person “expressing his opinion”. If he’d used his journalistic pen rather than his shoes he would not have gotten nearly the almost instantaneous worldwide publicity he got. His action gave voice to an unspecified number of people, not just in Iraq. But also very disrespectful at the same time. A head of state should be treated with respect.

    margaret Tacoma WA

  43. 58 viola
    September 15, 2009 at 17:59

    It was a childish act and it is childish to call him a hero.

  44. 59 Chintan in Houston
    September 15, 2009 at 18:05

    There are plenty of right wing supporters who are cheerings the outburst by Mr. Wilson ‘you lie!’ statement during Obama’s speech.
    That has been cheered by some folks, likewise some people in Iraq choose to cheer their so called hero who stood up against the leader of an government which has occupid their land
    Is there a difference? Both behaviours are rouge and unwarranted, but some people believe its necessary.

  45. 60 Nate, Portland OR
    September 15, 2009 at 18:27

    First, I feel a lot better about al-Zaidi receiving a hero’s welcome than the Lockerbie guy. Al-Zaidi expressed a justifiable and widely held rage in a manner that would have at worst bruised the nose of the man responsible. The Lockerbie fellow killed hundreds of people who were completely innocent. His hero’s welcome was shameful.

    If those that are welcoming al-Zaidi believe he deserved some sort of punishment (even if a little less than he got) but that he is still a hero then I have no problems with his welcome. Men offering up their daughters like chattel is something else entirely…

    The irony is that from my perspective this was Bush’s best performance of his entire presidency! Almost anybody could have united the country after 9/11. Not anybody could have showed such impressive reflexes and remarkable equanimity in the face of a flying shoe (even if we, thankfully, don’t share that bizarre shoe anti-fetish). The man has real talent. If only he’d applied it properly and never left Texas.

  46. 61 Thistle
    September 16, 2009 at 01:08

    He might have been a hero if the shoe had made contact.

  47. September 19, 2009 at 13:29

    A man must do what he has to do with his shoe.

  48. 63 NSC London
    September 20, 2009 at 20:26

    I’ll be the first to admit I’m pretty grossed out by Islamic societies but you can’t help but like this guy for tossing a shoe at G Dubz. It took courage, it was hilarious and I’m really glad he didn’t get the firing squad for doing it. If I saw this man at a bar, I think I’d have to buy him a drink.

  49. 64 biso
    December 2, 2009 at 10:22

    the only sad part is that he missed. that shoe shouldve hit bush right in his face. what is really shamful is for Bush to be out of jail now

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