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MALAYSIAN MINISTER PRAISES IRAQI SHOE-THROWER

NATIONAL NEWS
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: Malaysia’s foreign minister has praised the Iraqi journalist who tossed his shoes at President George W.Bush, saying it was the ‘best show of retaliation’ for the US invasion of Iraq.
Rais Yatim praised ‘the shoe-throwing act by that remarkable reporter who gave President Bush his final farewell last week.’
‘That shoe-throwing episode, in my view, is truly the best weapon of mass destruction to the leader who coined the phrase ‘axis of evil’ to denote Iran, Iraq and North Korea,’ he said in a speech late on Friday at a dinner to commemorate the 63rd anniversary of the United Nations.
Television reporter Muntadar al-Zaidi stunned observers when he threw both his shoes at Bush during a press conference in Baghdad with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Dec. 14. Bush deftly ducked out of the way both times.
The reporter also shouted in Arabic, ‘This is your farewell kiss, you dog!’ In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of deep contempt. al-Zaidi has been handed over to the Iraqi judiciary.
Bush has played down the incident, but the case became a rallying point among opponents of the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. Thousands of Iraqis demonstrated Friday for al-Zaidi’s release.
Al-Zeidi's act of defiance Sunday transformed an obscure reporter from a minor TV station into a national hero to many Iraqis fed up with the nearly six-year U.S. presence here, but also fearful that their country will fall under Iran's influence once the Americans leave..
A Saudi man reportedly offered $10 million for the shoes, and an Iranian cleric suggested they should become museum pieces. However, authorities said the shoes had been destroyed by investigators.
Mean while The Los Angeles Times wrote: "In the few seconds it took Iraqi journalist (Muntadhar al-Zeidi) to wing a pair of shoes at President Bush, the Middle East got its own version of Joe the Plumber. Just as Joe Wurzelbacher's gripes to Barack Obama catapulted him to fame, (al-Zeidi's) burst of rage toward Bush has made him a household name across the Middle East."
SOURCE :INTERNATIONAL THE NEWS
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