By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
Muntadhar al-Zeide, an Iraqui journalist of the Cairo-based Al-Bahgdadia, hurled his shoes to USA Pres. George Bush while the latter was having a press conference with the Iraqui president. Muntadhar became an instant hero worldwide despite being jailed in Iraq after that event.
Here in the Baguio City, a friend challenges us – Philippine-based journalists – if we can also do that. Though he made it more as a joke, nobody took his challenge. Of course that is understandable for Muntadhar as Iraq is the number one country on earth where journalists are not safe. Iraq had the most killed journalists while the Philippines came at second.
Muntadhar hurling of his shoes to Bush is a normal a reaction. In front of the journalists, Bush was lying as to the reason why they deployed and continuously had their troops in that country. It must be known that when USA and its allied troops drove out Iraqui troops from Kuwait in 1990, they were justified in doing so as Iraq under then Saddam Hussein violated United Nations policies in its invasion of Kuwait.
The US and its allied troops’ invasion of Iraq in 2001 is another story. US alleged that Iraq was producing and stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. While the UN agencies had not yet wrapped up its report in investigating Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, the US and its allied troops invaded the oil-rich country. It led to the destruction of cultural institutions like museums where materials proving the early civilization of Mesopotamia (the old name of Iraq) were kept. These institutions were number two as to be protected by the allied troops when they launched their war of invasion.
It was proven though that the most protected areas during that invasion were the oilfields. It actually showed the reason of that invasion – oil. After the invasion, the UN found out that Iraq had no capacity to produce and stockpile weapons for mass destruction but US and its allied troops had made the damage – the most to human.
After Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the UN imposed economic embargo to Iraq. This embargo was criticized as the most affected from that embargo were the civilians, particularly the women and children where at least 250,000 died as a result.
It is from the above background that anybody, regardless of whether you are a journalist, that you may do the act of Muntadhar. Even if he is the president of the world’s advance state, you can hurl your shoes against him if he still lied in front of the people where he led the commission of a crime against humanity.
Back in the Philippines, I got a justification from my friend that the Philippines is just the number two state on earth where journalists are not safe. Maybe hurling shoes is not yet justified.
I withdrew that kind of reasoning however. I pointed to him that I could also do that hurling of shoes if the President of the Philippines will also tell lies that mining benefits the indigenous peoples. Let her try that in front indigenous journalists and she will taste my shoes.
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