Wednesday, December 17, 2008

DC Shoe Protest Coverage

Raw Story:
Members of the theatrical protest brigade Code Pink left several dozen pairs of shoes in front of the White House to represent some of the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians killed during the war in Iraq, and they called for the release of Muntadar al-Zaidi. It was Bush, they said, who should be in jail.

"It's not enough to throw a shoe at him, he needs to be hauled before an international court and charged for war crimes," Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin said.

The event also had elements of street theater as the dozen or so protesters who showed up took turns hurling their own footwear at a Bush impersonator. It was quite the cathartic event for some of the demonstrators, who have frequently expressed their outrage at the president's abuses of power and misguided foreign invasions.

"We love our Constitution and we hate what you've done to it. And we also hate what you've done to the Iraqi people, George," Benjamin said as she prepared to throw two shoes at another demonstrator wearing a Bush mask. "This is on behalf of the Iraqi people, especially the women who have been hurt by your policies, George. And this one is for the children, George, who have suffered in Iraq."
I'm very thankful for Muntadar al-Zaidi's brave act of defiance and for Code Pink's action in solidarity with him. I understand, however, that Cornerites and even Raw Story is a bit confused by all this:
There was an appreciable level of irony in a group of anti-war protesters who celebrate non-violence gathering to champion the cause of a man who assaulted a world leader.

Rain Burroughs, an anti-war activist who traveled to the protest from Richmond, Va., said she found it "refreshing to see someone stand up" on behalf of Iraqi civilians who had been killed, even though she traditionally espouses the value of nonviolent action.

Benjamin said some Code Pink members were wary of championing al-Zaidi, but she said his actions have to be placed in context of the country where he lives.

"We've gotten a lot of our people who've called us and said ... it seems too violent for us, and we say, 'You're not living in Iraq. You're not suffering in your daily life," Benjamin said in an interview. "I mean, were I an Iraqi, I don't know that I would still be a nonviolent person. So this is actually a less violent act than one might expect."
Medea and Rain hit the proverbial nail nonviolently on the head. Much of nonviolence is predicated on the notion that you have the space and time to make moral decisions. If you haven't been educated, and given the opportunity to consider and practice alternatives to violence, it's certainly understandable on a human level that you might act violently out of desperation.

As I noted in a recent Paxcast, even Gandhi said just over a month after the start of WWII:
[N]on-violence has to be non-violence of the brave and the strong. It must come from inward conviction. I have, therefore, not hesitated to say that it is better to be violent if there is violence in our breasts than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover impotence. Violence is any day preferable to impotence. There is hope for a violent man to become non-violent. There is no such hope for the impotent.
Muntadar al-Zaidi has refused to be impotent any longer, even if it's not the manner that we would prefer. But it's not about us: it's about the Iraqis and their desire to have us leave their sovereign nation, and he has lit a brushfire in the minds of his people, not to mention ours, all with an object so mundane as a shoe.

ntodd

PS--Read the whole Raw Story link: it has more pics and video.

PPS--Apologies for the self-indulgence in links.

12 comments:

JimPreston said...

Just call me jealous jim, the temporary tourist.

Morikthered said...

Try that kinda protest in somalia against the government there or even Iraq that was under saddam rule?You people make me sad to be an american. Our nation was founded in war and many lives have been lost to keep it free. Yeah Iraq was not as immdiate threat as it was thought but im sure it was well on its way to be and to cheapen our soldiers sacrifice as you have been doing because we lost lives in a war ?Thats what war does kill people yeah its not going to be us 0 them 1000000 people die on both sides its a matter of fact.What you people are stating that we should go in remove the dictator an leave thme to their own civil war for control and then what would the world veiw us as?Even our new president will not remove our troops quickly so the so called good president will then be shoed by your people i think you people have alot of pain but instaed of blaming the dictator that made our troops go there and give another nation the freedom to do things their way and not spend their nations income on weapons and and on education and to better their nation yeah thats what our soldiers did.They gave another nation something we have enjoyed for many years ....freedom.

caterliz said...

caterliz@gmail.comGreat work CODEPINK team!!
W Bush has been a complete failure as chief Prowar is not Prolife
beware Morikthered your house and family might be next
how would you like an occupier in your house .....
we can never win an occupation!!

LaFajita said...

Morik, if you are sad to be an American, you should be.

Our nation was not founded in war. It was founded in slavery and genocide. Later it fought a war for independence with a collection of former indentured servants, black freedmen, and anyone else who was willing to risk a bullet for pay which was sometimes absent, often late, and always, well, niggardly.

Oh, please! How could we possibly cheapen anything past zero? King George and his bankster pals have already figured that one out, done and done. I guess those Ivy league MBAs were worthwhile after all.

0 us and 1,000,000 them does not a war make. It does make for a noteworthy Crime Against Humanity, and for want of a shoe the perpetrators have so far walked away with their shoes, and with their feet, and for that matter our shoes as well.

Sir, your vision is too small. We should not have removed the dictator at all! Nor should we have helped press him down like a crown of thorns on his own people, or encourage him to make war on his neighbors, or sold him the guns and gas to murder his own people, or finally lynch him in a stinking dungeon to hide our own complicity in his crimes! As it is, the world thinks of us as its crazy drunken stepfather, drunk on power, crazed with fear, and LOOK OUT! HE'S GOT A GUN!!. Heck of a job!

Freedom. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. I do not think it means the freedom to endure an occupation more violent, more brutal, and more corrupt than Saddam ever was, and not because Saddam was all warm and cuddly, but because he simply did not have the capability, not even with the armaments we sold him. I also do not think a citizen of a country which imprisons more people any other nation on earth, and subjects them to the most merciless criminal justice system in the world, should be proclaiming FREEDOM! to any but his own depraved and debauched government. You could help us with that.

jamillaelshafei said...

On Monday, January 19th, people from across the country will converge by the White House to give a fitting send-off to a war criminal. We will be hurling shoes in the spirit of Muntadhar and the Iraqi people. The shoe hurling action on Bush's last day in office will be a historical marker. The visual of possibly thousands of people hurling shoes at the White House as Bush leaves office will go around the globe and seared into the minds of people from around the globe, and the world will heave a collective sigh of relief. go to WWW.SHOEBUSH.ORG

Kemo1972 said...

I'm with you morik...and unlike 99%of these "righteous" "educated" and "civilized" people...I have served two tours in Iraq and have seen first hand. History will be kinder to GW then the sheep are today. Iraqis will avoid civil war, will live under a democracy, and never under a dictator. Iraq, the middle east and the world are better off for it.

Aaron said...

Code Pink are narcissists who care nothing about actual human rights:
http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/code-pink-hearts-irans-mullahs/

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

It was founded in slavery and genocide.

And you wonder why some accuse of folks such as yourself as being "anti-American"....

Sheesh!

Slavery was a horrible travesty. But this nation wasn't founded upon it. It was an institution around for the previous 20000 years, in all corners of the globe. The majority of African slaves were not shipped to North America; and America's wealth was not built upon the backs of slaves, who comprised about 12% of the workforce.

As for genocide, the word is misplaced. What we did to Native Americans was also deplorable. But it doesn't constitute the definition of genocide. The majority of Native Americans died from diseases (no we didn't practice biological warfare to intentionally infect Indians with smallpox despite what Ward Churchill wishes to fabricate).




We should not have removed the dictator at all!

So we allow Saddam to continue defying the international community and snub his nose at 17 UN Resolutions? We allow the threat to continue to metastasize?




Nor should we have helped press him down like a crown of thorns on his own people, or encourage him to make war on his neighbors, or sold him the guns and gas to murder his own people,

No. Jimmy Carter should have supported the Shah so that we would not lose a pro-American ally replaced by a brutal regime of Islamic militancy (the legacy of whose threat menaces world peace today and will do so under the Obama Administration as well) leading us to choose to give surveillance aid to Saddam in HIS war with Iran....Saddam whose military arsenal came primarily from Germany, France, Russia, and China, countries who- SURPRISE!!!- Opposed our invasion not because they were misguided idealistic kumbaya peaceniks like yourself, but because they had a financial vested interest in Saddam not being removed, as he owed them billions. The U.S. accounted for a ridiculous percentile in weapons supply- something like 1%-3%.



or finally lynch him in a stinking dungeon to hide our own complicity in his crimes!


Iraqis tried and hanged him. Not the U.S.




Freedom. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. I do not think it means the freedom to endure an occupation more violent, more brutal, and more corrupt than Saddam ever was,


Maybe you should talk to this Iraqi, and convince him.




and not because Saddam was all warm and cuddly, but because he simply did not have the capability, not even with the armaments we sold him.

Mostly what the U.S. supplied was intelligence information, in the form of satellite photos. A Swedish study reported this a number of years ago; also, cited by Bill Gertz in "Treachery: How America's Friends and Foes are Secretly Arming Our Enemies,":

24 nations supplied armaments to Saddam Hussein. The total amount was between 650,000 tons and 1 million tons. By contrast, the entire U.S. military arsenal is between 1.6 million and 1.8 million tons.

The big three arms suppliers were Russia (and the Soviet Union), China and France: Russia supplied 122 different types of arms and a total of nearly 13 million items; China had provided 19 different types of arms and almost 380,000 items; France had supplied 12 different armaments and more than 115,000 items.


Saddam was a threat to the world, both in intent and capabilities. Post-war findings bear this out. Shouting "NO WMDS FOUND" only obfuscates the dangers his regime posed. Time was on Saddam's side...until George W. Bush decided to take that one away from him.

I also do not think a citizen of a country which imprisons more people any other nation on earth, and subjects them to the most merciless criminal justice system in the world, should be proclaiming FREEDOM! to any but his own depraved and debauched government. You could help us with that.

What is your solution to handling criminals, then?

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Oh, and for my Code Pink "friends":

"Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for a multicultural, socially responsible, gender-neutral, environmentally conscious, secular celebration of the winter solstice holiday, with respect for your religious/secular persuasion and traditions, or your choice not to practice religious traditions at all. We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2006, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. This wish is given without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee. By accepting these greetings you are accepting these terms. This greeting may be subject to clarification or withdrawal and is not transferable. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself or himself or others, implies no warrantees of any kind, is void where prohibited by law or wherever it may cause any person to be uncomfortable in way. "



For any conservatives out there who come to this blog:

"Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year"!

uspatriot said...

look, this has nothing to do with whatever this video is about. i just want to say how disgusted i am with your group and your policies. that you have the gaul to stand up and blindly call the men and women that serve in uniform war criminals, murderers etc. is just mind boggling. I think that you should realize that you only have the freedom to express yourselves because of them and you should respect the sacrifices that they make for you. if you choose to take this down from your blog then you in fact are showing how hypocritical and bigoted you really are in denying an opinion contrary to your own. have a nice day, and thank a veteran for their service. Go out and meet one and you'll learn that they aren't bad people, and they really care about you. They are willing to go die for people who not only do not know them, but also, like you, harbor ill will to them. give these guys and gals a chance, and maybe you'll change the way you see the world. it isn't black and white. Everything the government does isn't bad. open your minds and be a little more receptive to conventional society.

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