Muntadhar al-Zaidi Throws His Shoes at US President Geroge W. Bush
During a December 14, 2008 press conference at the Prime Minister's Palace in Baghdad, Iraq, Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw both of his shoes at then-United States President George W. Bush.
The throwing of shoes is an act of extreme disrespect in both the Arab and Islamic cultures. "This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog," yelled al-Zaidi in Arabic as he threw his first shoe towards the U.S. president. "This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq," he shouted as he threw his second shoe. President Bush ducked twice, avoiding being hit by the shoes. Prime Minister Maliki also attempted to catch one of the shoes to protect the President. Al-Zaidi was then pulled to the floor by another journalist, before being grabbed by Prime Minister Maliki's guards, kicked, and rushed out of the room. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino was hit in the face by a microphone boom knocked over by a presidential bodyguard resulting in a clearly visible black eye.
President Bush said some Iraqi reporters had apologized to him, and he said that he thanked them for their apologies. "Thanks for apologizing on behalf of the Iraqi people. It doesn't bother me." Bush joked, "If you want the facts, it's a size 10 shoe that he threw." When asked about the incident by another reporter, Bush said "It's a way for people to draw attention. I don't know what the guy's cause was. I didn't feel the least bit threatened by it."When later asked to reflect on the incident, Bush said "I didn't have much time to reflect on anything, I was ducking and dodging. I'm not angry with the system. I believe that a free society is emerging, and a free society is necessary for our own security and peace," he added. "I don't think that you can take one guy throwing his shoe as representative of the people of Iraq," said White House Press Secretary Dana Perino.