May 15, 2011

Throw Shoes, Rather Than Bombs

Three years after grabbing the spotlight by throwing his shoe at U.S. President George Bush during a press conference in Baghdad, Iraqi journalist Montazar Al Zaidi is in the land of Mahatma Gandhi hawking the philosophy it's better to throw shoes, rather than bombs, at extremist forces. Mr Al Zaidi is in India on a two-day visit on the invitation of filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt. Mr Al Zaidi's book, The Last Salute, detailing his experiences before and after his shoe act, has inspired Mr. Bhatt to produce a play for the first time in a career spanning more than two decades. Getting Mr Al Zaidi to India wasn't easy. The post-Osama developments in Indo-American relations had made it tough to get him a visa. “I wrote to the Home Ministry which gave him a visa in 15 days finally,” Mr Bhatt says, rather relieved. Mr Al Zaidi seems in the pink of health, but rather pensive and a little tired. He admits that his act of throwing a shoe at Mr. Bush was a premeditated move. “After I saw an eight year-old-child, Zohra, killed by the US troops in Iraq, I went mad and decided that even if I am killed, I will teach Bush a lesson.”

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