January 30th, 2009
10:53 AM ET
7 years ago

'Shoe monument' in Iraq taken down one day after it was unveiled

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/29/art.iraqshoe0129.cnn.jpg caption="This monument to the shoe thrown at former Pres. George W. Bush was taken down one day after being unveiled in the Tikrit region of Iraq."]
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - The monument commemorating the journalist who hurled his shoes at President Bush was taken down a day after it was erected, local officials in Tikrit told CNN.

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 Thursday 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.

But officials from Salaheddin province told CNN that the monument was removed after a request from the central government, which has charges pending against al-Zaidi - now in an Iraqi jail.

After the request was made, Iraqi police visited the location to make sure that the shoe monument was removed.

"We will not allow anyone to use the government facilities and buildings for political motives," said Abdullah Jabara, Salaheddin deputy governor.

Al-Zaidi's 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."

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 contributed to this story

Filed under: Iraq • President George W. Bush
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Bill

    Let's build one here to show our support for freedom of expression in Iraq. The hapless government installed by the Bush Administration just doesn't get it. George W. is long gone.

    January 30, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  2. Chris S.

    wow !!!

    January 30, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  3. Chris S.

    wow !!! look Bush.

    January 30, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. Nadeem

    We need more of this, not less. It's a little thing called FREEDOM!

    January 30, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  5. Annette

    Well, what goes around comes around.

    January 30, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. John Adams

    A Belated Response: Re: Bush closing statements, Bush complained that he had to make "tough decisions" as President. A "tough decision" was for he and Cheney to have gone to Vietnam, especially since they were great exponents of it!. To be a US Soldier and sign up as a result of 9/11 and to end up in Iraq, having had to leave your wife and kids behind (then coming back missing a limb or eye –or in a body bag!)(And, why didn't Bush and Cheney send their daughters to Iraq, rather other people's kids)(All the more absurd and ill advised since we had two "No Drive/No Fly Zones" with the world's most powerful militaries there, keeping secular anti-AL Qaida Saddam boxed in). Other tough decisions that Bush and Cheney will never have to make, being a single mother and being laid off and somehow trying to feed your kids (as a result of the disastrous Bush years).

    John W. Adams Presidential descendant and social scientist

    PS Said statue is more than appropriate, how about war crimes?

    January 30, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. Thomas

    So much for freedom. At least the Iraqis now know that we invaded their country so they would be free to do exactly what we tell them to do.

    Beware of countries offering you "freedom".

    January 30, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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