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Iraqi Shoe Toss is an exploitable gif of Iraqi Journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi, throwing his shoes at then President George W. Bush during a surprise visit to Iraq on December 14, 2008
The image itself is usually altered by changing the object thrown or cutting to another scene entirely for humorous effect.
During a surprise visit and press conference in December, 2008, George W. Bush would visit Iraq for a final time before ending his tenure as President of the United States of America.
The press conference with Iraq Prime Minister, Nouri Al Maliki, was interrupted when Iraqi journalist Al-Zaidi threw both of his shoes at the outgoing US President, shouting “This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog” and “This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq”, before being detained by guards.
Due to the conference being broadcast by many news networks around the world and due to the press and public attention to any event related to the President of the US, animated gifs and parody videos quickly spread around the internet.
The invasion of Iraq was a controversial move by the United States and was widely hated in the Middle East, even though Al Zaidi’s attack was clearly breaking the law, he was seen as a hero across the Arab World.
In the west, President Bush’s low approval numbers meant the shoe attack was also seen favourably by many westerners and copycat shoe tossing were briefly popular in many countries, not just Middle Eastern ones.
In Arab and Middle Eastern culture, The throwing of shoes is an act of extreme disrespect and a lot of press outlets have commented on this although any Arabs have noted that the cultural significance of thrown shoes has been overemphasised.
New York Times – In Iraqi’s Shoe-Hurling Protest, Arabs Find a Hero.