A Turkish shoe manufacturer has employed 300 extra to cope with the demand for the shoe that was aimed at George W in his recent whirlwind tour to Iraq. The shoes, probably to be renamed “Bye bye Bush”, are wanted not only in the Arab world, but in the US while a British supplier has offered to act as agent for the UK.
Shoe protests have taken off, with Palestinians using theirs to vent their feelings against Israeli soldiers who return rubber coated steel bullets and tear gas in response. The following report comes from Bil’in:
Protesters Threw Shoes at Israeli Soldiers in Bil’in
ffj-bilin -Friday 19\12\2008 Demonstrators marched today after the Friday prayer carrying Palestinian flags and banners calling to end the Israeli occupation, stop the wall and settlement building, stop land confiscation and settler attacks, closures and roadblocks, and the release of all detainees. The demonstration was joined by internationals and Israeli activists. Members of the Peoples’ Struggle Front also joined the protest today and carried banners.
Protesters carried pictures of U.S President George Bush having shoes thrown at him. They also carried their own shoes as a symbolic refusal of the Israeli occupation.
The protest today marched towards the wall singing slogans and attempting to reach the confiscated land behind the wall. The Israeli army was stationed behind concrete blocks and fired teargas and sound grenades when the protesters tried to reach the gate. Dozens suffered gas inhalation and eight demonstrators were shot with rubber coated steel bullets, two journalists, one of them from Israel, his name is Israel, and the second, Issam Arrimawi working in Wafa Media. Two others were taken to the Ashshikh Zaid Hospital in Ramallah : Mohammad Abu Rahma and Baseb Abu Rahma .and the others we treated in the village: Adeed abu Rahma, Sabri Abu Rahma,Jehad Alhaj, and Mohammed Imran. The demonstrators responded to these attacks by throwing their shoes at the army.
The Israeli High Court accepted an appeal by the residents of Bil’in two days ago against the route of the Israeli Annexation Wall which is confiscating a lot of farm lands from the village. The court ruled that the Israeli authorities should change the path of the wall according to the July 4, 2007 High Court decision and that the Israeli government should pay a fine of 10,000 NIS.
There are reports of demonstrations across the globe where shoes feature in the protests, including Washington outside the White House, and Montreal.
The picture that springs into my mind is the incident where Nikita Khruschev banged his shoe in front of the United Nations to emphasise a point. It has been suggested the empty shoe was symbolic of death. His grand daughter found it necessary to find out waht actually happened and why. Officially in the Soviet Union it never happened and Khrushev remained unmentionable for 20 years after he left office. The image was thought to being shame and portray an uncivilised people. Castro was one who didn’t agree and supported Khruschev’s anti-imperialist stance.
Other shoe protests, including one in Iraq showing anger at Saddam, are documented here.