Why Shoe Bush?
By David Swanson,
Our president stood in a nation he had illegally invaded and occupied, where his actions had caused over 1.2 million deaths, 5 million people forced out of their homes, millions more deprived of electricity or clean water and afraid to walk the streets. He stood smiling in a nation he had transformed into a living hell, a place where everyone had seen loved ones and neighbors killed. And when Muntadar Al-Zeidi threw two shoes at him, our president remarked “I don’t know what his beef is.”
But billions of people around the world believed that the pretended obliviousness of George W. Bush to the pain and suffering he was inflicting had gone on as long as they could stand if not much longer, and Al-Zeidi became a hero overnight. His two shoes punctured the Bush veil of separation, the distance Bush pretends to imagine exists between his decisions and the human limbs scattered in the sand of his colony. And while the U.S. media pretended to wonder whether the water torture was “really” torture, the United States and its puppet government in Iraq inflicted on Al-Zeidi one of the more commonly employed torture techniques of the Bush regime: they beat him and broke his bones.
In an ideal world, it would be enough to present the evidence of crimes for Bush, Cheney, and their criminal subordinates to be prosecuted and convicted. In this world, we’ve presented that evidence for years, and we are still in a climate in which Bush and Cheney blissfully admit their crimes, apparently believing that they render prosecution less likely by declaring their own crimes acceptable. While lies may take hold more easily the bigger they are, big lies also collapse quickly, as when a child points to a naked emperor, or a journalist throws his shoes.
We have a president-elect who can save himself from engaging in criminal wars and occupations, in torture and other war crimes, in warrantless spying and other violations of our Constitution, only by prosecuting the actions of his predecessor. Not to prosecute is itself a crime. If we are going to persuade the president elect, we must first persuade the U.S. media, and the U.S. media is not attracted by facts and information. The U.S. media is attracted by throwing shoes.
Bush’s last act is expected to be the unprecedented pardoning of crimes he authorized. This has never before been done, and to do so is to drop all claim to being a nation of laws. Thanks to the example set by Al-Zeidi, since emulated by people all over the world, we will know exactly how to make our response visible when those pardons come.
ABOUT THE SHOES FOR BUSH ACTION
On Monday, January 19th on President Bush’s last day in office, people will gather at 11:00am at a site near the White House (TBA) for what will be a cathartic action of hurling shoes at the White House. We will be acting in the spirit of Mutadhar Al-Zaidi, the journalist who threw his shoes at Bush during a press conference on behalf of the widows, orphans and all those killed in Iraq, and in solidarity with the Iraqi people as well as all of those who have suffered under the Bush regime.
To watch Bush leave office and not be held accountable for war crimes and impeachable offenses is like rubbing salt into the wound.
This action may not take away all of the pain suffered during the Bush regime but we will get satisfaction from the statement the act makes. The shoe hurling will be a historic marker. The visual of thousands of people hurling shoes at the White House as Bush leaves office will go around the globe and the people all over the world will let out a collective cheer. Please join us in being part of history!
If you will be in DC for the Inaugural, please bring an extra pair of shoes with you and join us! If possible collect shoes from your friends and meet us at 11:00 at a location to be announced. Please check back on this site.
Organizers are setting up SHOE COLLECTION HUBS and we need your assistance. Please volunteer to have your residence be a place for people to bring their shoes. Then people who are driving to DC can bring the shoes with them.
Please visit our SHOE COLLECTION HUB page on this web site.
OR you may mail your shoes to SHOES FOR BUSH
PO BOX (forthcoming) Kennebunk, ME 04043
There are no bomb sniffing dogs at our post office! Only a very annoyed post master.
We will be transporting your shoes in a U-Haul to DC.
Please consider writing a note to put in your shoes as we will be reading them at the assembly site. Artists—be creative make art with your shoes.
After the action all shoes will be donated to the needy in the Washington DC area.