Girls stand next to a sculpture of a shoe that serves as a monument to the shoes thrown at then-US president George W. Bush in Tikrit

Girls stand next to a sculpture of a shoe that serves as a monument to the shoes thrown at then-US president George W. Bush in Tikrit

In the Arab world, the shoe is a very powerful symbol. When Saddam Hussein was deposed and statues in his honor began to tumble, angry Iraqis would take their shoes off and whack the statues in what was then considered the most humiliating symbolism one could resort to. Hitting someone with your shoe was more than just about administering a few good whacks. It was about denigrating the other person with the lowest thing in your possession – the humble shoe. All that changed when Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi hurled his shoes at then President George W. Bush. Suddenly his modest shoes achieved heroic dimensions! This really came home with the recent unveiling of a sofa sized statue of a shoe in his honor in Tikrit, the hometown of the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

AP reports that:

Baghdad-based artist Laith al-Amari described his fiberglass-and-copper work as a homage to the pride of the Iraqi people… The statue also has inscribed a poem honoring Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the Iraqi journalist. Al-Zeidi was charged with assaulting a foreign leader, but the trial was postponed after his lawyer sought to reduce the charges.

N’al buk l’klb indeed…

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ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

5 Comments

  • Very nice of MoveOn.org. and the Democratic National Committee to contribute funding for the project.

  • something tells me this shoe will outlast the legacy and “honour” of the idiot bush

  • Speaking about SHOES…

    Jimmy Choo is not Jewish, but shoes still have a special place in Jewish history. Just check out the new book edited by Edna Nahshon, titled “Jews and Shoes.”

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1847880509/sefersafarianonl

    As one reviewer wrote, “Jews and Shoes is a remarkable and wonderful offbeat collection of pieces on shoes (or the lack of them) from Moses’ refusal to wear them to Ernst Lubitsch’s evocation of WWI Berlin’s Jewish world of shoe selling. A wild mix of cultural history (Barbara Kirschenblatt-Gimlett and her father Mayer’s images of shoe making), anthropology (Rivka Parciack on Jewish tombstones in the shape of shoes), and literary study (Andrew Ingall on Bruno Schulz), this is a great book of everyone who wears shoes, is Jewish or is Jewish and wears shoes.”

    TABLE OF CONTENTS:
    Introduction: Jews and Shoes, Edna Nahshon
    Part 1: Religion and the Bible
    1. The Biblical Shoe, Ora Prouser “… Put Off Thy Shoes From Off Thy Feet …”
    2. The Halitzah Shoe, Catherine Heszer * The Halitza Shoe: Between Female Subjugation and Symbolic Emasculation
    3. The Tombstone Shoe, Rivka Parciack – The Living within the Dead: Shoe-Shaped Tombstones at Jewish Cemeteries
    4. The Israeli Shoe, Orna Ben-Meir ‘Biblical Sandals’ and Native Israeli Identity

    Part 2: Memories and Commemoration
    5. The Shtetl Shoe, Mayer Kirshenblatt and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett – How to Make a Shoe
    6. The Folkloristic Shoe, Robert A. Rothstein – Shoes and Shoemakers in Yiddish Language and Folklore
    7. The Holocaust Shoe, Jeffrey Feldman – Untying Memory: Shoes as Holocaust Discourse

    Part 3: Ideology and Economics
    8. The Cobbler’s Shoe, Natalia Aleksiun – Shoes, Poverty and National Minority: Shoemakers in the Discourse of Jewish Intellectuals in Interwar Poland
    9. The Wanderer’s Shoe, Shelly Zer-Zion – The Cobbler’s Penalty: the Wandering Jew in Search for Salvation
    10. The Equalizing Shoe, Ayala Raz – On Shoes, Pioneers, and the Zionist Search for Equality

    Part 4: Theatre, Art and Film
    11. The Fetishist’s Shoe, Andrew Ingall – ‘Poems of Pedal Atrocity’: Sexuality, Ethnicity, and Religion in the Art and Literature of Bruno Schulz
    12. The Artist’s Shoe, Sonya Rapoport – Digging Into the Jewish Roots of Shoe-Field
    13. The Theatrical Shoe, Dorit Yerushalmi – The Voice of Shoemaking: Cobblers on the Israeli Stage
    14. The Cinematic Shoe, Jeanette Malkin – Shoes and the City: Ernst Lubitsch and the Urban ‘Jewish’ Film

  • if the Iraqis use their democracy similarly to Americans, then they will re-construct shoe sculpture after U.S. forces leave — twice as big

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