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

A shoe monument shines at Iraqi orphanage

Iraqi orphans helped a sculptor create this monument to the shoe thrown at former President Bush last month during a visit to Baghdad.

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. Kurt C.

    I guess they don't realize that Bush was instrumental in removing Saddam Hussein, who, if you three a shoe at him, would have had you tirtured and killed.

    Kind of ironic.

    January 29, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  2. hello.

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

    this is honestly the most shocking thing i've seen in a while.

    it certainly does make you wonder why we didn't leave them to be slaughtered by their ex-dictator.

    January 29, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. BB

    Ha ha ha ha ha

    January 29, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. Come again!

    Ha, ha, ha....too funny! Can we have a copy to put in our national mall with the rest of the monuments in DC!

    January 29, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. RealityKing

    He is also regarded as an enemy of democracy by many in Iraq. In fact, he has request asylum out side of Iraq in fear for his life..

    January 29, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. Matt

    Lovely. Teaching children to hate. Do you GOPers get it NOW? hmmm? That the whole Iraq fiasco has made us LESS SAFE??? What better symbol could there be than this sculpture IN FRONT OF AN ORPHANAGE!!!!! WAKE UP!

    January 29, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. Lisa

    Many people view this man as a hero – and not just in the Arab world. I'm glad that the orphanage has thier monument of distain towards Bush for all to see. These children have suffered a huge loss for Bush and Chaney to have thier illegal, immoral & corrupt war.

    January 29, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  8. Dan

    Shame on them for teaching their kids this. They don't deserve the rights and democracy the Men and women of the US armed forces have given them.

    January 29, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. Dan

    Lets make sure the next generation never sees the shoe monument, nothing a 500 lb bomb cant take care of.

    January 29, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  10. Jackson, Seattle

    Any truth to the rumor that, if he goes free, he will be the new spokesman for Foot Locker?

    January 29, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  11. Shoe-icide bomber

    The shoe thrower is seeking leniency from the Iraqi court.
    Apparently the shoe is now on the other foot.

    January 29, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  12. Joe the Troll

    "Greeted as Liberators."

    January 29, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  13. jason

    "I don't even think this is newsworthy. The Muslims and Arabs should be thanking Bush for helping protect them."

    January 29, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  14. Roy

    I agree that it is a dichotomy when we go to war to liberate a country, then they call it 'Bush's War', and teach (also like Pakistan and Iran) their children that we are aggressors....
    I wonder what they teach in Baghdad elementary schools about Sadaam?? Hero? Villian?

    January 29, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  15. Melissa

    Honestly, at this point I'm with the Iraqi's. The gesture was well founded and I applauded that guy when he threw the shoe. He should have thrown something alot more hurtful. They should release him. He didn't do anything that bad.

    Btw, I'm a Canadian living in the US. I find the Shrub to be despicable.

    January 29, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  16. Ben

    >it certainly does make you wonder why we didn't leave them to be slaughtered by their ex-dictator.

    We figured we could do a better job at it.

    January 29, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. Jonathan

    20 years from now when their country is a thriving democracy I wonder who they will thank? The idiot who threw a flip flop or the man that started their country down a democratic path. If my history is correct, I don't believe the US effortlessly and without pain became the free country it is today.

    January 29, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  18. Tyler

    hello, you're a cold SOB. They're angry with an unnecessary war. They're not necessarily mad at Americans, they're mad at Bush.

    January 29, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  19. oh come on

    Their ex dictator didn't kill as many as this illegal war did. If the head of the country that invaded mine and killed my fellow citizens, stood in front of me, I'd be trying to throw more than just my shoe at him. How many war refugees from Iraq have been admitted into the U.S. since this war began? You can count them on one hand.

    January 29, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  20. garin

    US soldiers have fought for the Iraqis, did construction works, trained their security, and protected them from al-qaeda's onslaught. If it is difficult for those ungratefuls to show gratitude, they can atleast keep quiet. No wonder serving in the defence is quite a thankless job.

    January 29, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. Cleaning up after W

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

    Another reason why we shouldn't have gone in to begin with. You can never win the hearts and minds of a nation by invading them, even if they were ruled by a dictator. The neo-cons should have done their homework before Bush led us into an illegal war.

    January 29, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. Once you vote Black

    Will kill them like flies and they we expect them to like us. We have some self image.

    January 29, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  23. Patrick - Indianapolis

    To hello:

    They didn't exactly invite us to come on over and invade their country and kill thousands upon thousands of their friends and family. You don't think everyone we kill is a 'terrorist' do you? We didn't exactly leave when we caught Sadam. We didn't leave after they strung him up. Odds are, we aren't very welcome to be there.

    Honestly, If China came over here and kicked Bush (a name attached to an administration I loathe) out of power, I would still be angry that they were here and I would stop at nothing (or until death) to see that they were out of my homeland. You would do the same if you had any pride. Don't you agree?

    January 29, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. bruce cortez colo

    herbert and barbie needed to beat little georgies a$s with a shoe more often.

    January 29, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. Dude!

    When we first went over there, they showed murals dedicated to the destruction of 9/11 on the school walls drawn by the children. How are you people shocked by this?

    I think part of the problem is that when we originally went over to liberate Kuwait, Bush 1 didn't get rid of Saddam based on bad advice- which he now regrets. Clinton followed suit by doing nothing as well. People got slaughtered in the meantime. Bush 2 finally comes in and does the job and many are grateful but a lot of them still harbor poor feelings and of course that gets handed down to the next generation.
    Pretty simple really. And for all their hatred (any of these countries actually), they ALL still hold their hands out looking for help. We should let them all rot.

    January 29, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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