Fateful footwear encounter: This photo from the Dec. 14 press conference with President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad shows Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi in the act that won him millions of fans and landed him in a heap of trouble.
Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi, who quickly became renowned throughout the world after chucking his shoes at President George W. Bush during a press conference in Baghdad last December, took the stand in court Thursday to defend his memorable act as a gesture of self-expression, on behalf of both himself and “the Iraqi people.”
The Washington Post:
Throwing his shoes, fastball style, at the leader of the free world was not, Zaidi argued, a crime.
Zaidi, 30, who is charged with assaulting a foreign head of state, posited that Bush’s Dec. 14 trip to Baghdad was not an official visit by a foreign dignitary because he arrived in the country without prior notice and didn’t leave the Green Zone, which at the time was still under U.S. control.
“I am charged now with attacking the prime minister’s guest,” he said stoically, making his first public remarks since the incident. “We Arabs are famous for being generous with guests. But Bush and his soldiers have been here for six years. Guests should knock on the door. Those who come sneaking in are not guests.”