Bush claims victory, he gets shoes
Demand for the immediate release of Muntadhar Al-Zaidi
Statement by The BRussells Tribunal Committee (15 December 2008)
In one magnificent act, Muntadhar Al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist with Al-Baghdadiya television, epitomized the truth of the defeat of the United States in Iraq and lifted the spirit of resistance within the hearts of all Arabs, matching that of the Iraqi people who continue to resist imperialism and colonialism and who refuse humiliation.
It is Bush who is humiliated, and from it he cannot recover. He had snuck into Iraq, unannounced, to sign an illegal treaty with his puppet stooge aimed at institutionalizing the US occupation. Two flying shoes destroyed the façade upon which he and his cronies claim victory in Iraq.
For the orphans and widows
The greatest expression of contempt in Arab culture is wielding a shoe to an adversary. Bush and his criminal cronies deserve contempt. Bush claims not to know what Al-Zaidi’s “cause” is. Al-Zaidi made it clear: the shoes he threw at Bush were for the orphans and widows of Bush’s imperial war that to date has killed more than 1.2 million Iraqis and displaced six million more.
The shoes were thrown equally in the direction of Bush’s local puppets — proof that no government under occupation can be legitimate or gain legitimacy, that resistance expresses the sovereignty of the Iraqi people, exposing the Bush-Maliki agreement as worthless and devoid of legality. Two flying shoes expressed the paradise that is resistance in comparison to the ignominy of submission. Iraq is unbreakable, its people proven proud and invincible.
Al-Zaidi needs protection
Following five and a half years of relentless destruction and killing, it is clear that Muntadhar Al-Zaidi, in daring to challenge the imperial United States, took a step into that grey zone between the human right to life and the permanent threat of death wielded by imperialism. Given the Maliki government’s eagerness in summarily executing its political opponents — including their lawyers — and as he is reportedly in the direct custody of Maliki’s own security guards, we have firm reason to believe that Al-Zaidi is in immediate danger of being tortured and/or assassinated.
We remind all that Muntadhar Al-Zaidi is a protected person under international humanitarian law, which governs the US occupation, and has guaranteed rights under international human rights law. International humanitarian and human rights law outlaws torture and summary execution, incommunicado detention, the ill treatment of detainees, or denial of access to legal counsel. The US occupation is directly responsible for Al-Zaidi’s welfare and must guarantee his security. As a journalist, he must be afforded extra protection.
Appeal for action
Following Al-Zaidi’s action, thousands have taken to the street in his support and countless statements are being written in his defence. We salute his courage, demand to know his exact location, and join millions in demanding his immediate release.
We join all patriotic Arabs and the Iraqi people who today celebrate their dignity, visually announced and reaffirmed in the public humiliation of a disgraced American president.
We call upon all human rights organizations and bodies, including responsible organs of the United Nations, along with journalists’ syndicates and associations, to defend the right to security and life of Muntadhar Al-Zaidi and work to ensure his immediate release.
The BRussells Tribunal Committee
15 December 2008
Please circulate this appeal widely.
* Bush gets shoes: http://www.youtube.com/v/OM3Z_Kskl_U
* Hel Laila Hilwa — Hussein Al-A’dhami: http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHasAMLQByk
 See Articles 6-7 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Articles 113 and 116 of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.
The BRussells Tribunal are intellectuals, artists and activists who denounce the logic of permanent war promoted by the American government and its allies, affecting for the time being particularly one region in the world: the Middle East. It started with a people's court against the PNAC and its role in the illegal invasion of Iraq, but continued ever since. It tries to be a bridge between the intellectual resistance in the Arab World and the Western peace movements. Members of the BRussells Tribunal Committee