Iraq Shoe-Thrower Freed, Ready for Homecoming Parade


Muntazer al-Zaidi, who threw the infamous shoe-hurled ’round the world, was released from prison in Baghdad today. A hero’s welcome is expected for al-Zaidi, a Shiite Muslim whose outburst roughly translated as “This is a farewell kiss, you dog!” (Update: France24 reports his welcome as “warm.” al-Zaidi claims he was tortured in prison, and plans to leave Iraq for his own safety.)

The hurl ignited U.S.opposition in the Arab world, and was the most famous insult screamed at a sitting U.S. President until Joe Wilson matched it last week (sans loafers)…

It will be interesting to see how al-Zaidi is received, given that focus on healthcare, the economy, and the escalating war in Afghanistan means the Iraq adventure is farther from Americans’ minds than ever. (So much so that a purported tape from Osama Bin Laden, once the harbinger of screaming color changes in our terror alerts, is even treated with a yawn here in New York City.) Given the treatment of others in Baghdad prisons, and that his brother claims the reason he has yet to appear in court is because he was so beaten officials feared him being seen in public, could al-Zaidi be an even bigger PR disaster than Abu Ghraib? Will what he says at his hero’s welcome stoke as much anger in the Arab world as recently released Pan AM-103 plotter Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s did in the U.S.? Image (cc) Latuff2.