January 29th, 2009
01:26 PM ET
9 years ago

A shoe monument shines at Iraqi orphanage

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/29/art.iraqshoe0129.cnn.jpg caption="Iraqi orphans helped a sculptor create this monument to the shoe thrown at former President Bush last month during a visit to Baghdad."]
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - For the war-beaten orphans of the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit, this big old shoe fits right in their hearts.

A huge sculpture of the footwear hurled at President Bush last year during a trip to Iraq has been unveiled at the Tikrit Orphanage complex during a ceremony.

Assisted by kids at the home, sculptor Laith al-Amiri erected a brown replica of one of the shoes hurled last month by journalist Muntadhir al-Zaidi during a press conference in Baghdad at Bush and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Al-Zaidi was jailed for his actions, and a trial is pending. But his angry gesture touched a defiant nerve throughout the Arab and Muslim world. He is regarded by many people as a hero and demonstrators last month took to the streets in the Arab world and called for his release.

Made of fiberglass and coated with copper, the monument consists of the shoe sitting on a concrete base. The entire monument is 3.5 meters high. The shoe is 2.5 meters long and 1.5 meters wide.

The orphans helped al-Amiri build the $5,000 structure in 15 days, said Faten Abdulqader al-Naseri, the orphanage director.

"Those orphans who helped the sculptor in building this monument were the victims of Bush's war," Al-Naseri said. "The shoe monument is a gift to the next generation to remember the heroic action by the journalist."

"When the next generation sees the shoe monument, they will ask their parents about it," al-Naseri said.

"Then their parents will start talking about the hero Muntadhir al-Zaidi who threw his shoe at George W. Bush during his unannounced farewell visit."

Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi leader toppled by the United States in 2003, was from the Tikrit region.

Al-Zaidi marked his 30th birthday in jail earlier this month. One of his brothers told CNN he "in good health and is being treated well."

Al-Zaidi's employer, TV network al-Baghdadia, keeps a picture of him at the top left side of the screen with a calendar showing the number of days he has spent in detention. The network has been calling for his release.

By tradition, throwing a shoe, is the most insulting act in the Arab world.

- CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq and Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report

Filed under: Iraq • President George W. Bush
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. P. Y.

    @ get The Facts

    All true but the Bush lovers will never take the time to check out things before they open their big mouths. Bush went into office with the plan to attack Iraq. I hope that history some day shows how much he truly had to do with 9-11.

    If I lived in Iraq I would hate him too. Whoops ! I live in America and I hate him for what he has done to our country.

    January 29, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. Steve Minyard

    To the Bush-bashers posting here,

    It's true that this incident wouldn't have happened if we didn't invade Iraq. This guy would've been summarily shot for such a thing pre-2003; the fact that a monument can now be built to someone expressing a political view in the heart of the Arab world speaks volumes about why we went into Iraq in the first place.

    January 29, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. Matt

    @ Noah


    January 29, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Fredi

    @ Mike, Syracuse NY

    thank God I do not have to live in the same world you live in.

    January 29, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  5. WhoCares?

    The Bush Legacy...

    January 29, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. WhoCares?

    "We lose American lives and shed American blood for THEM, and yet they teach their children to hate us?"


    If Russia decided to just come in and help us in the same way...you would be ok with it?

    January 29, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. WhoCares?


    January 29, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  8. Caligirl

    Noah January 29th, 2009 3:47 pm ET

    Liberals are such ridiculous human beings. They relate more with the mindsets of terrorists than with our brave soldiers. It is really sad and disturbing that they view our military as the enemy and do not see the Islamic jihadists as the true enemy that has forced our hand in the war on terror.


    In case you have not noticed, we have created more terroroists with our policies.

    January 29, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  9. Caligirl

    Iraq does not deserve our protection January 29th, 2009 2:58 pm ET

    If this is how Iraq feels towards the then sittting President of the United States, then Iraq does not deserve the protection that we provide them. We would leave the country as fast as humanly possible, and leave the sunnis, shiites, and kurds to battle among themselves for another 100 years. Iraq does not deserve the United States. I wish we could dump 1 shoe from every US man, woman, and child, on the capital of Iraq to show them how we feel here at home

    Please speak for yourself Honey. You have no idea how I feel, as an American, about George Bush's illegal war!!!

    January 29, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. Denver Dem

    HAHAHAHAHA!! Repugs suck, these orphans are orphans b/c Bush killed their families.

    January 29, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
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