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. Greed is not good

    Wow what a picture...I am no fan of Bush but am quite impressed with his quick reflexes and the way he dodged those shoes, while keeping his composure.

    January 29, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  2. Dee

    They're a free country. Thanks to us. Let them express themselves freely.

    The next generation of Iraqis will look back on the liberties secured by this generation with THANKS.

    January 29, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. My2Cents

    Wow, what a way to say "thanks for the 10 billion American dollars we receive each month."

    Ten billion dollars a month; imagine want can be done with that amount of money during these tough economic times in this Country.

    January 29, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. gatorbait

    What does it say about this culture that throwing a shoe at somebody is an insult, but suicide bombing is not?

    January 29, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Despite what Obama thinks, these people ARE our enemy. They hated us before Bush, celebrated 9/11, hate us now, and will do anything to destroy us.

    January 29, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  6. Ray Ray

    Interesting how the Bush-Bashers gloat about the incident.

    I wonder how these folks would react if a cross were burned at one of Obama's speaking events?

    January 29, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  7. John

    To you Bush apologists puzzled and offended by anti-US Iraqi anger:

    What did you THINK would happen after our invasion reduced their neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, and economy to rubble?

    January 29, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. God Bless the U.S.A

    psalm 60 verse 8 speaks of casting a shoe, i don't know the meaning, i thought it interesting.

    January 29, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. C. Wood (Alabama)

    This is the most perfect, fitting tribute I've ever heard of. Made my day.

    C. Wood

    January 29, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. David

    Instead of being shocked and offended by the actions of people you don't understand, maybe you guys should just take it as a lesson learned: next time there is an important decision to be made in the world, you will try to make a more thoughtful decision, rather than rushing into wars. The fact that you are suprised at how these people feel is all the more reason for you to to understand that you didn't make an educated decision.

    January 29, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  11. rena

    He only did what every Iraqie and American would have loved to had the priviledge to do. My hat is off to him. Good for him.

    To those you who claim Bush done such a great thing by trying liberate them; first of all he wasn't he was trying to get their oil, secondly he caused many Iraqies to get killed along with our soldiers. Let me see you go to one of our fallen soldiers members and say them Bush did the right thing. You probably would get a shoe slapped across your face. I would be one of the first to do it; since my husband had to endure that hardship twice.

    What good has come out of it? Nothing!!!!

    January 29, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. Snake eyes

    Iraqis never asked america to come and "liberate" them, so once we did Bush earned every measure of scorn for his ineptitude. meanwhile it doesnt matter to iraqis if they are dying at the hands of saddam or Blackwater–they are still dying.

    January 29, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. Jim

    Bush admits Iraq was invaded based upon false intelligence that Iraq has WMDs. More than 4000 US troops have died, thousands of troops have become handicapped, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died.
    All this only because of one false, bogus and concocted intelligence report. I think this will go down in history as the worst atrocity of this century.

    January 29, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  14. Noah

    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.

    January 29, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  15. Kevin

    "Despite what Obama thinks, these people ARE our enemy. They hated us before Bush, celebrated 9/11, hate us now, and will do anything to destroy us."

    Corrected for better accuracy:

    "In agreement with what Obama thinks, some of these people ARE our enemy. They hated us before Bush, but now more of them hate us because of our policies the past eight years. Some of them celebrated 9/11, while others didn't. Some of them will do anything to destroy us."

    January 29, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. Once you vote Black

    Before you put them down you should try to get an idea of the amount of suffering they have done since we got there. They had nothing to do with 9-11 and not ite to al-Quida before we got there. The shoe slinger lost his family. Or perhaps he had Iraq-in-his-shore. Get it?

    January 29, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  17. mark hesling

    what do you expect at an orphanage where children's parents were killed by the US invasion and occupation? A tower of hearts?

    January 29, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  18. FreeNLovIt

    Ah, I see, the Freedom Shoe!!

    January 29, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  19. Pat F

    The only this more disgraceful than this occurance is that there are Americans (a small, pathetic minority, thank God) who actually support an attack on the dignity of the Presidency. They are called traitors.

    To such people: the moslems who you want to love you so badly won't. They'll just hate you even more for your disloyalty to your own president.

    January 29, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  20. Shari, NY

    "You are either for us or against us" said Bush. That has caused more harm than good. Having excellent reflexes alone does not empower you with leadership skills.

    January 29, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  21. Thomas

    We had to kill Iraqis in order to liberate them

    Sorta like the Vietnam version of "we had to destroy the village in order to save it" logic.

    January 29, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  22. steve r.

    What a great message

    January 29, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  23. beetle

    just goes to show we should have NEVER STARTED THAT WAR.

    January 29, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  24. Veteran

    This is an insult to the office of the President and they are spitting in our faces openly after all we gave them. Just proof that if people are given freedom without having to fight for it on their own...they'll never appreciate it. US citizens should be outraged no matter what their opinion of Bush is. Rediculous!!!!

    January 29, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  25. Patrick - Indianapolis

    Get the Facts: Thank you for saying something extremely intelligent. Just when I am about to give up on hope, someone like you steps in and makes me feel better.

    You could not be more correct.

    January 29, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
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