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Oddly Enough

Shoe monument for man who threw footwear at Bush

A statue built for Iraqi journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi, who hurled his shoes at former U.S. president George Bush, is seen in Tikrit, 150 km (95 miles) Baghdad, January 27, 2009. REUTERS/Sabah al-Bazee

TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) - An Iraqi town has unveiled a giant monument of a shoe in honour of the journalist who threw his footwear at former U.S. President George W. Bush.

The two-metre (six-foot) high statue, unveiled Thursday in former dictator Saddam Hussein’s home town of Tikrit, depicts a bronze-coloured shoe, filled with a plastic shrub. “Muntazer: fasting until the sword breaks its fast with blood; silent until our mouths speak the truth,” reads an inscription, in honour of journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi, who hurled his shoes at Bush and called him a “dog” at a news conference during the former president’s final visit to Iraq.

Zaidi has been held in jail in Baghdad since the incident, facing charges of assaulting a visiting head of state.

Fatin Abdul Qader, head of an orphanage and children’s organisation in the town, said the one-and-a-half-tonne monument by artist Laith al-Amiri was titled “statue of glory and generosity.”

“This statue is the least expression of our appreciation for Muntazer al-Zaidi, because Iraqi hearts were comforted by his throw,” she said.

Reporting by Sabah al-Bazee; writing by Peter Graff

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