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. Pepou

    The perfect homage to Bush !

    January 29, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  2. PA

    Here is a good reason why we Americans need to stop helping the rest of the countries and let them be...instead, we need to look out for the welfare of the americans. Helping these people does not get us anywhere...all they do is to teach hatred.

    January 29, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. Todd

    What about being the victims of Saddam Hussein's reign of power? Amazing how we forget history sometimes. Hey, at least the government there now isn't using chemical weapons on their civilian population.

    January 29, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. Ken in Dallas

    I want to see a picture.

    Bush wrecked their country, and now Americans are mean-spirited enough to speak of bombing them for commemorating the man who showed Bush what most Iraqis are feeling. Are you starting to get a clue why these people don't like Americans like Bush?

    January 29, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. Daryl from Seattle

    @hello....

    ever gone to someone's neighborhood, didn't like the way their trees lined the streets and then had them cut down without asking the people living there? Maybe, just maybe the Iraqi's DIDN'T ask us to come "liberate" them. Don't forget, the war was initially about WMD's that didn't even exist. It wasn't until after they couldn't find weapons that we started acting like we invaded to "free" the people of Iraq.

    I personally love the shoe monument. Where can I get one of those autographed by the guy who threw it? It would sell on ebay for millions.

    January 29, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  6. Matt

    @ hello

    It shouldn't be shocking at all. It happens EVERY time we do something like this (pick up a history book). What's shocking is that when Republicans push the idea that if we try it again we'll get a different result, people actually believe them.

    January 29, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  7. John, AZ

    The citizens of Iraq don't want us there. The only thing that we have managed to do in the middle east is make more enemies than when we started. Pull the troupes out and let them kill each other instead of us. If we spent as much money improving our National security at home as we have spent rebuilding Iraq we would not be seeing record highs in the number of people filing for unemployment insurance.

    January 29, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  8. Matt

    A giant, shining example of why the whole thing made us less safe. Do you GOPers get it now?? Do you?? This happens EVERY SINGLE TIME we do something like this. This is NOT a suprise. There are plenty of people who can say "I Told You So" about this.

    January 29, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. Iraq does not deserve our protection

    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

    January 29, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  10. Hal

    Hello: It s not shocking when you rage war on other people,look at your country and at the disgraceful shambles your dictator left it in(Bush).I have a lot of sorrow for the young americans and all the chidren and parents that died because your president wanted the OIL.Your president lied to the american people so I would not trow one shoe but both of my boots at him.

    January 29, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. john w

    will those children throw shoes at terrorists when we leave that backward nation ?

    January 29, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. We love Sarah

    Let's see how happy any American would be if another country invaded, no I mean, liberated America?

    January 29, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  13. NEL E BELL

    I'M SOOOO HAPPY WE SPENT SO MUCH BLOOD AND TREASURE FOR THESE IN GRATES MAKES ME PROUD. I THINK WE NEED TO START THROWING GI BOOTS AT THEIR FOLKS AND MAYBE THEY WILL UNDERSTAND HOW INSULTED WE FEEL. WHO CARES ABOUT BUSH , THIS IS A MATTER NATIONAL PRIDE AND SACRIFICE.

    January 29, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  14. Fred

    Now all they need to do is make a butt-pyramid monument in honor of that Abu prison. No doubt every liberal idiot in this country would take it upon themselves to make a holy pilgrimage to it, elevating it to the level of a sacred shrine.

    January 29, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  15. arc, Lugano CH

    Dan January 29th, 2009 2:36 pm ET
    Lets make sure the next generation never sees the shoe monument, nothing a 500 lb bomb cant take care of.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Is dropping a 500lb on an orphanage putting 'Country First'? Or does it depend on how many Non-Christian/Conservative women and children you kill?

    With a global perspective like this, you put Secretary of State Clinton's job is in jeopardy!

    January 29, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. JB

    oh come on-

    wrong. Saddam killed many more citizens of Iraq than "this war did". Another example of libs spouting off about things they no nothing about. Saddam killed 200,000 kurds in one day, with one chemical weapons attack. This was not an "illegal" war. It was approved of by the senate and many liberals voted for it. Please exolain how it was illegal? The UN. . . . when have we ever gotten UN approval. Did Clinton when he went into Somalia? Of course not. Or, when he bombed Iraq? Of course not. But libs have no problems when a liberal is doing it. Let me spell it for you libs, H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E-S

    January 29, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  17. shewhoseopinioncnnlovestocensor

    to hello American lives have been lost along with countless Iraqi lives because of Bush's folly and the neocon's greed. They thought it an aeasy way to get hold of Iraq's oil.

    A shoe is a very minor thing to throw when you consider what we have thrown at them.

    January 29, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  18. dennisk

    This is the only monument needed to honor the monumental failure that was the Bush presidency. Please cancel the presidential library, don't name any high schools after him. At the most, rename whatever Federal penitentary he ends up at "Bush Prison."

    January 29, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  19. slickingdom

    @hello:

    I agree. The Americans are trying to free the Arab world of the kinds of
    tyranny led by the people from their own country. Then try to instill the
    same kind of hatred in their young for America ? America needs to
    protect the U.S. borders and let them solve their own problem.

    January 29, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  20. Don

    This is not a true story – check your facts...

    January 29, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  21. Shocked

    "hello. January 29th, 2009 2:21 pm ET

    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."

    THEY never asked your country to "lose American lives or shed American blood". So you can let your oh so wonderful former president take all the glory for that! If roles were reversed and Iraq did to America what your country has done, it would be considered a crime. So if they want to protest what your illegitimate president did to their country, then I say let them!

    January 29, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. the truth

    Yes he is a hero please relase him and George Bush deserved that and you republicans you should know now how iraqis feel about the illegal war, they didn't invite you to go and spread your so called "democracy".

    January 29, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  23. EC

    Throw a shoe at George W. Bush and get a heroic statue of a SHOE!

    HA! HA! HA! HA! George W. Bush will be remembered by a shoe. That's priceless!

    January 29, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  24. DeVone

    George Bush left a path of destrution in the white house
    and they are trying to derail President Obama it will not happen
    it is time for AMREICA to realize IF GOD IS FOR US WHO IN THE WORLD COULD BE AGAINST US?

    January 29, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  25. Say what?

    Oh Come on ...
    Really? We've killed more than the 600,000-plus that Saddam killed through genocide? I must have missed that cover story. Even the highest estimates are no more than 10 percent of that. Until you can produce indisputable facts on that, stop spreading shameless lies.

    And unless you're some seriously deformed human being, the U.S. has let in nearly 8,000 Iraqi war refugees.

    Do the world a favor and learn to think. Try to get your facts from some lying liberal talk show host. There are plenty of places for you to check your facts.

    January 29, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
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