An exclusive interview with the shoe thrower

His name is Muntazer al-Zaidi and he’s the toast of the Middle East and many other parts of the world. Shoe thrower
Never before has anyone achieved so much acclaim for throwing a pair of shoes. He threw them at President Bush, of course, an act that he’s somewhat embarrassed about, as I learned during an exclusive telephone interview.

Me: “Muntazer, thank you for taking my call.”

Muntazer: “I did not know I could take calls. How much are you paying the prison warden?”

Me: “I’m giving him a pair of shoes.”

Muntazer: “You can send them to me. I will deliver them for you.”

Me: “No, thanks. I saw your last delivery.”

Muntazer: “You are right, my friend. It was a bad delivery. A very bad delivery. I’m embarrassed about it.”

Me: “People say you are a hero. Do you consider yourself a hero?”

Muntazer: “No, I am not a hero. I missed the target. It was a bad delivery. I should have thrown harder and lower. I did not practice enough.”

Me: “You mean you practiced for this?”

Muntazer: “Of course I practiced. I spent many hours at the shoeing range.”

Me: “Shoeing range? You mean there’s a special place where you can practice throwing shoes?”

Muntazer: “Yes, we have many shoeing ranges here. They provide us with hundreds of shoes, as well as cardboard cutouts of President Bush.”

Me: “So throwing shoes at President Bush is a national sport in Iraq?”

Muntazer: “Yes, it is a very popular sport. We have many competitions. But we do it in secret places. We don’t want the American soldiers to find out.”

Me: “You are afraid of getting into trouble?”

Muntazer: “No, we are afraid of having too many players. The lines are too long already.”

Me: “There are lines? People stand in lines to throw shoes at cutouts of President Bush?”

Muntazer: “Yes, the lines are very long. But it is good for the people. It is a form of therapy.”

Me: “Was it therapeutic for you to throw shoes at the actual president?”

Muntazer: “Yes, it was. And then they arrested me and brought me to prison.”

Me: “So it’s not therapeutic anymore?”

Muntazer: “No, it is very untherapeutic.”

Me: “What do you think of the president’s reflexes?”

Muntazer: “He moved like a man who is used to having shoes thrown at him.”

Me: “Are you sorry about what you did?”

Muntazer: “Yes, I am sorry. I am sorry that I missed.”

Me: “You are extremely popular in the Arab World. I heard that an Egyptian man has even offered his 20-year-old daughter in marriage to you. How do you feel about that?”

Muntazer: “I feel like throwing more shoes.”

Me: “I heard that the Pittsburgh Pirates want to sign you to a pitching contract. Is that true?”

Muntazer: “Yes, they made inquiries about my availability. But I am considering a more lucrative job offer.”

Me: “A more lucrative job offer?”

Muntazer: “Yes, Madonna has offered me a job. She wants me to throw shoes at her ex-husband.”

Me: “Which one?”

Muntazer: “I’m not sure. We are still negotiating the details.”

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

Comments

  1. HAHAHAHAHAHA… next thing we’ll read is shoe-throwing is an official sport at the Olympics. 😉
    Hilarious interview. 😀

  2. It’s nice to know that Muntazer al-Zai will at least get a trial for his shoe tossing, had he done the same thing with the prior administration in Iraq, the one that his target helped to remove from office, his trial, beating and death, perhaps of his family as well, would already have occurred.

  3. Dear Melvin:
    This was a classic. I had inadvertently updated my blog using a somewhat humorous photo of the President prior to the shoe throwing incident, I then wrote about finding shoes that have liberated me from the use of orthotics. The combination of items was not intentional but it was picked up on right away.
    Madonna will have no shortage for shoes. When a bride and groom drive off for their honeymoon it is sometimes traditional to tie shoes to the back bumper of the car. Madonna should have a good supply. It may also help to explain why Imelda Marcos had so many. It was her way of keeping Ferdinand in line.
    Happy New Year. Enjoy the holidays… and remember… if the shoe fits, throw it.

  4. He’s a real hero, however, IMO. I wish I was there and had an extra pair of shoes!!!

  5. genius!!

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