Blog Archive

Blog Archive – December, 2008

"story of a duck and a slipper"-- an end of year tale

December 20, 2008

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

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What a wonderful end of term send off Iraqi journalist Muntathar el-Zeidi (petition in support) gave the US president and the world!

This young man achieved the ultimate ridicule, the ultimate insult, the ultimate weapon. The simple shoe, heaved so accurately with its heavy meaning has hit homes across the globe. For those of us from eastern and Arab culture, our humble slipper has deep social significance to a foe. Directed at an adversary, it can be a stronger statement than any deadly weapon.

But what about the presidential duck. Holder of the most powerful office in the world, they say, ducked to miss the beautifully timed and perfectly directed missile. How this weapon forced GW Bush to duck is even more of a victory than if the thing had hit him smack in the face. Imagine, any person of such stature forced to crouch behind a post, like a scared rabbit. He ducked, like any common sniper or scared cowardly, defenseless animal. Regardless, Bush did not evade the attack. It could not have been a more perfect scenario— an internationally covered press conference.

 

The symbolism both of the ‘ducking president’ and the ‘shoe’ has not been lost on anyone, most especially Arab journalists and the public. What a heyday they are enjoying. It is truly an historic occasion, to record in drawing and song, to tell and retell our grandchildren, something to restore pride, to revive hope, to know this giant can be felled.

How poignant that this simple (almost) harmless act can indeed be so redeeming an action for the millions of humiliations, murders, insults, losses and hardships of years of US brutality starting with the embargo in 1990.

 

I recall a colleague in Algeria noting how US leaders were forced to sneak in an out of their occupied lands, despite garrisons of troops, tanks, combat aircraft and ultra super surveillance at their disposal. “Remember how Ms. Rice, Mr. Gates, Mr. Rumsfeld and GW always arrive in Iraq unannounced to visit the troops or review their battlements? They fly into a secured green zone or a US military base, and are out of Iraq within hours.” This, my colleague points out, laughing, in contrast to the Iranian head of state who announces his visit to Iraq two weeks before, flies into Baghdad airport greeted by officials and press, then makes his way by motorcade into the capital.

What is imperial power?

 

[ "story of a duck and a slipper"-- an end of year tale ]


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Men have singled out women of outstanding merit and put them on a pedestal to avoid recognizing the capabilities of all women--

Huda Shaarawi (1879-1947), Egyptian political activist and feminist

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