Impressive reaction time by President Bush,
while Maliki is snoozing!By now we all know about the weird and, somewhat, funny story about the Iraqi journalist that was so quick so as to throw two shoes, one after the other, while President Bush's secret service men were daydreaming (see the video on the guardian website).
Of course that has become a feast for all: Arab and American media, 'pundits' and sociologists analyzing the cultural meaning of what the journalist did, and what he said afterward. And, who knows: Saturday Night Live may find it a good theme for a skit or two.
But the sad thing is how millions all over the Arab world have come to see this not just as an act of protest, but as an act of heroism. That does not surprise me or surprise anyone that knows what happens to protesters in the Arab world.
Losing their jobs, going to jail, beaten up on the streets, being tortured or have their families tortured before their eyes, are but few of the possible outcomes if you protest hard enough against a 'leader' in the Arab world.
To a large extent, there was a lot less heroism in doing that to President Bush that to, for example, Mubarak of Egypt, Assad of Syria, or any of the holy kings of any of the Arab kingdoms. Doing that to President Bush (and not to one of his Arab 'semi-god' counterparts), and in the presence of the uncensored world media (vis-a-vis governmental Arab media) is probably the only guarantee that the shoe-thrower may end without permanent bodily harm or end up missing 'beyond the sun' - as we say in Arabic about those who oppose Arab leaders.
The Arab street took this journalist to heart for one reason: he expressed the same kind of disrespect for American policies that most Arabs have. Arabs street knows that 'their leaders' are too cowardly to espress what their citizens feel. The Iraqi journalist represented the Arab street feeling when the so-called leaders would not.
I have to admit that I was impressed with Bush's reacting quickly like a 20 year old while, as you see in the picture above, Maliki of Iraq looks like he was asleep with his eyes open (and maybe he was!).
Also, no matter what you think of Bush, he is a good sport. He was smiling less than 40 seconds after the second shoe was thrown at him, and was signaling to the audience to calm down and sit down to continue with the press conference.
As for the SLUGGISH presidential secret service staff, I hope they all end up somewhere where you can sleep on the job without putting anyone in danger.
I do not want them near any President of mine, be it Bush or Obama.