Muntazar al-Zaidi in Switzerland

AP News has a news article about my favorite show thrower that reads like a blog post. The author/reporter couldn’t resist injecting his own point of view into his article, and for some reason the editor let it run.

He [Muntazar al-Zaidi] condemned the United States, saying it played a role in 1 million deaths and forcing 5 million people to flee. He made no mention of the violence among Iraqi groups since the 2003 U.S. invasion.

Did the author/reporter, Bradley S. Klapper, used to write speeches for George W. Bush? Because this sounds exactly like something he’d say. As if, when talking about the US invasion of and years-long @#$%ing of Iraq, it’s unfair not to mention that some of the deaths were at the hands of Iraqis fighting each other as a result of the world-class incompetence of the Bush administration. I think this is an outgrowth of the “fair and balanced” trend in journalism today where if you have a scientist on your show explaining global warming, you must give equal time to whacked out minister or small town board of education member countering that God wouldn’t make the earth any warmer than we can handle.

Most of Iraq’s 2 million international refugees live in neighboring Syria and Jordan, while the International Organization for Migration says a similar number of Iraqis are uprooted inside the country’s borders. About 100,000 Iraqis have suffered violent deaths over the last 6 1/2 years, according to The Iraq Body Count, a London-based group whose figures are widely considered a credible minimum.

And here he’s complaining about al-Zaidi’s accuracy. Klapper provides us with an unattributed estimate of 2 million refugees abroad and a vague, also unattributed estimate of “a similar number” inside Iraq to imply that al-Zaidi is making stuff up. He also gives us a lowball estimate of 100,000 deaths and hopes we won’t notice the word “minimum” right next to the word “credible.”

Al-Zeidi’s reception in Switzerland was noteworthy. While his shoe-throwing act of protest in December made him a hero for many in the Muslim world, there was little public outpouring of support for him when he was released last month in Baghdad.

To back up his claim that al-Zaidi got a lukewarm reception in Iraq, Klapper gives us no facts whatsover. We’re supposed to take his word for it because he’s a news-talking guy.

Here’s a YouTube clip from the news at the time of al-Zaidi’s release last month:

It kind of looks like he’s missing a tooth or two. This one shows a little more of the crowds’ sentiments. They look jubilant to me:

I mean, I can understand that Mr. Klapper wants to make the pinko Swiss look un-American, but what’s his angle, trying to make it sound like Iraqis weren’t happy to see al-Zaidi out of jail?

The article started like this:

The Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at President George W. Bush leaned back in his chair and soaked in the round of applause.

This was not Baghdad or Damascus or Beirut. This was Geneva, where Muntadhar al-Zeidi was given a hero’s welcome Monday far warmer than the subdued reception in his own homeland.

Again with downplaying the way the Iraqi’s received him. That is so bizarre.

By the way, Muntazar al-Zaydi now has 46,248 fans on his Arabic-language Facebook page.

Here’s a Guardian audio article about the celebrations in Baghdad on the occasion of al-Zaydi’s release.

“It’s a mood of high celebration…”

They do report that it was more subdued than they expected. That could be because it was in the middle of Ramadan. Possibly because al-Zaydi wanted some peace and quiet.

From the Telegraph:

Mr Zaidi returned to his home in the Shia suburb of Sadr City, where relatives had gathered with balloons, banners and sheep to slaughter in his honour.

Scores of people, including local politicians and tribal leaders, joined them for the celebration. “They are very happy and they are singing and dancing,” one of his brothers, Maytin, told The Daily Telegraph. “This is our tradition when someone gets released, we play music and dance.”

Another brother, Uday, said the journalist would be sleeping at an “undisclosed location” and would travel to Greece for treatment on Thursday.

“I congratulate the Iraqi people and the Muslim world and all free men across the world on the release of Muntazer,” said Uday Zaidi. “Every time Bush turns a new page in his life he will find Muntazer’s shoes waiting for him.”

And OMG, I went one click too far, and found this execrable post by Bob Barr saying al-Zaydi should quit whining, because if he had thrown his shoes at President Bush while being a swarthy Iraqi in the United States, he would have been treated much worse, probably including waterboarding (which he says he was treated to in Iraqi prison, too). As if everyone didn’t know that already.

Seriously, it’s unbelievable.

I don’t usually link to assholes, but the commenters are pretty funny. Apparently Bob can’t attract his own kind to his blog.

UPDATE: My apologies to Bob Barr. A little bird suggested that my sarcasm meter must have gone out of whack, as Barr’s whole post was a work of sarcasm. I am disappointed in myself, since sarcasm was the only language my family spoke at home.

Also, if parts of this post appear to missing, blame WordPress. I don’t know what’s going on with that.

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1 Comment

Filed under arab, Our glorious war in Iraq, War in Iraq

One response to “Muntazar al-Zaidi in Switzerland

  1. SIR,

    KINDLY SEND ME THE DAY TO DAY AFFAIRS OF MUNTAZIR AL ZAIDI

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