Monday, December 15, 2008

Iraqis React to al-Zaidi

Selections from the New York Times:

Nawal Jaafer, 30, said: “Yes, we all hate American because it destroyed Iraq and distributed the riot and sectarianism among its people. I think what al-Zaidi did is a real expression on what’s hidden in the hearts of the Iraqis”.

Karim Muan al-Qaisi, a 50-year-old merchant, said: “Despite my hatred of Bush, he’s a president for a big country and a guest for the Iraqi government. And we are as easterners think insulting the guest is an insult for the host. Despite our hatred to the guest there should be respect and diplomacy.”

Ahmad Jeyyad, 36, a professor in the college of Agriculture in Anbar University, said: “What we have seen in TV is more than an action by a journalist. It was an action by an Iraqi citizen who lost his mind because of the woes of occupations. My family clapped when they saw the shoe. They greet Muntader for his action, but we do not know the reasons behind it. He may have had one of his family arrested by American forces or he may have political affiliations or other reasons.”

Ahmad Jbaeir, a 25-year-old law school student, said: “I was very glad when I saw the shoe on TV. I do not care even if he was a journalist or an ordinary citizen, but he expressed the feelings of Iraqis who hate Bush because he killed us. So we are demanding to release him.”

Saddam Loqman, a 21-year-old shopkeeper, said: “My father was arrested by Americans and I wish to do it instead, but if I was a journalist then I have to respect the occupation when I get to the conference hall.” Then he laughed and said “I think that the Iraqi government will permit journalists to attend conferences only after taking their shoes off.”

Nahla Salman, a 26-year-old government employee, said: “What he has done is what is stored inside all Iraqis — anger toward Bush’s incorrect policy. But he made it with hurry. He wasn’t supposed to do it while the prime minister was with Bush, but I still think that he did the right thing.”

Police major Ibrahim Sheikh Ofi, 36, the head of the governor’s bodyguards, said: “It was a wild act and it was an unexplained one. He was supposed to be aware of the Iraqi flag. I think he summed up a huge anger inside him. That is why he exploded this way.”

Habib Ahmed, a 26-year-old reporter, said: “I think what he has done was a brave act and he will be marked in history as the first Iraqi and the first Arab who hit the American President with shoes. It seems that he assembled all the anger of Iraqis and he expressed it this way even if it was not a democratic way.”

Mohamed al-Hili, a 35-year-old policeman, said: “I am happy for what happened because that will reflect how we do not like Bush. And our government has a different attitude and belief than ours. And I’d like to add that Mr. Muntader is a hero and he must be our president or at least P.M. We need to replace al-Maliki with the real Iraqi — Mr. Muntader.”

In a telephone interview, Saber Al-Kinani, a 41-year-old history professor, said: “I agree with Mr. Muntader because he gave Bush what he deserves. I believe that was the feeling of all the Iraqis. Listen America is a big liar because they are calling for freedom … but when you want to say something by the name of freedom against America that time you will be a terrorist and a big criminal.”

Dr. Alia Hamandi, a 33-year-old dentist, said in a telephone interview that: “I do not like for my country, the great Iraq, to face more problems with the U.S. Because all our sufferings are caused by America and that because we are Muslims. And we do not like to be slaves so what happened was a kind of simple Iraqi free man reflects and that was awesome.”

Harith al-Obaidi, a 35-year-old pharmacist, said: “I disagree with what happened because in this time we need to be more quiet until we get the full liberation. At that time we can do anything. But I am happy for one reason and that is Bush became an example for Obama to let him be different than Bush and to help us for the best.”

Hussein al-Dulaimi, a 39-year-old engineer, said in a telephone interview that: “We need to do more than that with Bush, but I do not think that will be win. … We need to win as much as we can of the U.S. trust to accelerate their withdrawal soon.”

Mohamed al-Haiyali, a 29-year-old soldier manning a checkpoint, said: “We have the power. The Army and the richest country around the world … So we do not need somebody to protect us and Muntader told Bush that, but in different way.”

Haitham Karem, a 32-year-old soldier, said: “What happened in the conference is a personal expression for an Iraqi journalist and a citizen. His action is a kind of freedom. The officials have to understand it.”

Ahmad Hasan, a 29-year-old television correspondent, said: “Muntader’s action is not a civilized action by a journalist, but he sent a message from an Iraqi citizen showing that there are many Iraqis who object to the American presence and the [security] agreement.”

Haider Quraishi, a 40-year-old journalist, said: “The action was a frank objection by a member of the educated class in Iraq to the [security] agreement. And the government has to release Muntader immediately. I do not think Bush is upset, but Maliki is really upset.”

Tawfeeq Qais, a 31-year-old barber, said: “Muntader expressed his opinion about the freedom and democracy brought to Iraq by Bush. Bush has to take responsibility for it, and this action should be considered as a kind of democracy.”

Um Mohammad, a 36-year-old housewife, said: “Long live your right hand, Muntader. This is what the American president deserves. I am calling to release Muntader al-Zaidi.”

Abu Ali, a 55-year-old laborer, said: “It is a wedding of all Iraqis. Muntader’s action is less than Bush deserves for killing, displacing and bloodletting Iraqis. I will blame the Iraqi government and American forces if anything wrong happens to Muntader.”

Mohammed Ibrahim, 51, said: “Bush deserves more than that because his soldiers have killed Iraqis. If Saddam had occupied America and killed the American people, then what would be their reaction? What we do expect Muntader to do when he watched the American forces kill Iraqis according to Bush’s order? Long life for your hand, Muntader.”

Dr. Qutaiba Rajaa, 58, said: “Although that action was not expressed in a civilized manner, it showed the feelings of Iraqis who refuse the American occupation. Muntader expressed the real Iraqi feelings.”

Mohammad Zaki, a 27-year-old lawyer, said: “I appreciate the heroic position of Muntader al-Zaidi. I appreciate his love to home and his challenge to the occupier. I will blame Maliki if anything wrong happen to him or to his family.”

Jasim Mohammed, a 24-year-old laborer, said: “Muntader’s action got back the Iraqi dignity. He got back part of our gravity. God bless you Muntader. We are demanding the Iraqi forces to release him.”

Adnan Majwari, a 44-year-old Kurdish journalist, said: “It was a historical moment and if there are organizations who care about human rights and journalists freedom in Iraq then Muntader al-Zaidi has to be released immediately.”

Dr. Amal al-Annaz, a 48-year-old professor, said: “These are the real Iraqis who are well known for their magnanimity. Throwing a shoe on Bush was not a random action, but it is the result of every wound caused by the American president to the Iraqi people, women and children.”

Ahmad Sameer, a 22-year-old student, said: “It was the moment of the age because Bush will never forget it and it was a reminder to Bush about his wars and causalities in Iraq, but in an Iraqi way.”

“I swear by God that this man has freely expressed all Iraqis’ opinions and brought their wishes to reality,” said Mudhar Adeeb, an engineer.

Fawaz Ahmad, a 45-year-old day laborer, said: “He performed an excellent job and a great challenge. Bush deserves more than that.”

“He has done what the whole world could not,” said another man, Hazim Edress.

“This is the second insult directed to America after September’s events,” said Jasim Abdullah, a 29-year-old shopkeeper, in reference to the Sept. 11 attacks. “I suggest having an auction to sell the shoe.”

Yaareb Yousif Matti, a 45-year-old teacher said, “This is the killers and criminals’ dessert. They are Iraqi people’s killers. I swear by God that all Iraqis with their different nationalities are glad about
this act.”

“Muntader’s action is the top of heroism,” said Farhan Khalaf, a teacher. “He represents all Iraqis’ tragedies and sadness, but he has not become a suicide bomber, nor planted an I.E.D., nor beheaded anyone. He practiced the democracy which brought by the American. He has to be released at once. He is in all people’s hearts in Iraq and in the whole world. I am sure that he will supported by the Democrats in America.”

Maten Omar Karkoli, a Turkmen shopkeeper, said: “Muntader has represented the peaceful resistance. It is the language of democracy which was brought by America, but I just wonder if Bush was beaten by a shoe then by what would Iraqi people beat their political leaders and representatives?”

Atyya Mejbil Obaidi, a governmental employee, said: “Bush threw bombs and rockets at Iraq and he destroyed my home by drawing a divisive strategy. So does he not deserve to get something from Iraqis?”

Shirzad Rasheed al-Barazanji, an agricultural engineer, said: “What happened showed the hatreds planted in Iraqi hearts. I am a Kurd, and if I was in his place I would ask Bush an embarrassing question, but not act like that. I do not set aside that behind that journalist, there is a political agenda against Bush and Maliki.”

“When the American army entered Iraq,” he added, “people welcomed them by throwing flowers, but Bush was told farewell by a shoe. So the new American authority has to be careful in their strategy in Iraq.”