It happened so suddenly that you couldn’t believe your own eyes. Television viewers the world over watched US President George W Bush duck his head to dodge a throw of shoes from a TV reporter in Baghdad. It happened at a joint-news conference he addressed with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki during President Bush’s farewell visit to Iraq.
Live TV footage, I watched it on BBC, captured the flight of the shoe as it zipped past the VIPs at the podium. I was struck by the president’s presence of mind in dodging a flying shoe, twice in quick succession. I wish I had the presence of mind to reach for my amateur camera when I saw the visuals the first time. I waited for a re-relecast an hour later to get these images.
The missle-launcher, identified as an Iraqi TV reporter Muntadar-al-Zeida, used both his shoes to have his say. They were size 10. And, as Mr Bush put it, ”the guy wanted to get on TV and he did”
He appeared calm and collected, Mr Bush I mean. In an interview with ABC news channel the president described the incident as, perhaps, the weirdest of things he had witnessed during his presidency. As Mr Bush put it , “I’ve seen a lot of weird things during my presidency and this may rank up there as one of the weirdest….I thought it was unusual to have a guy throw his show at you. But I’m not insulted…I don’t think the Iraqi press corps as a whole is terrible. And so, the guy wanted to get on TV and he did. I don’t know what his beef is”.