For Immediate Release
Peace Activists Take Shoes to White House in Solidarity With Shoe-Throwing Iraqi Journalist
Call for his release and tribute to Iraqis who have suffered under US occupation
WASHINGTON - In solidarity with an Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George W. Bush at a Baghdad press conference Sunday, peace activists will gather outside the White House with bags of shoes representing Iraqis and U.S. soldiers who have died since the Bush Administration's illegal invasion of Iraq.
They aim to show support for Iraqi journalist Muntader al-Zaidi, who hurled his shoes at President Bush while he spoke at the conference on his "surprise" visit to discuss the war. Al-Zaidi is currently being held by Iraqi police and questioned on his actions. The peace activists are calling on the Iraqi government to release al-Zaidi without charges and have set up a fund to support him and his family."
"It's outrageous that al-Zaidi could get two years in prison for insulting George Bush, when Bush is directly responsible for the deaths of 1.5 million Iraqis and 4,200 U.S. troops, and 5 million displaced Iraqis," says Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK. "The one who should be in jail is George Bush, and he should be charged with war crimes."
The gesture of throwing shoes is considered a major insult in Arabic culture.
"Al-Zaidi's act of civil disobedience expresses the disgust that so many Iraqis and Americans feel towards a man who has caused so much pain and suffering," says Anas Shallal of Iraqi Voices for Peace. "It is indeed a fitting tribute to the end of the Bush reign of terror."
U.S. veterans who served in Iraq will also participate in the shoe action at the White House.
"Having one shoe thrown at George Bush pales in comparison to the suffering that veterans and Iraqis go through everyday," says Geoffrey Milliard of Iraq Veterans Against the War. "Perhaps if Bush can see some more of these shoes before he leaves office, he will feel some of our pain."
WHAT: Peace activists to gather with shoes in solidarity to Iraqi journalist
WHEN: 11 a.m., Weds. Dec. 17
WHERE: In front of White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
For more information, please call Medea Benjamin at 415-235-6517.
CODEPINK, founded in 2002, is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the war in Iraq, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into health care, education and other life-affirming activities. With an emphasis on joy and humor, CODEPINK women and men seek to activate, amplify and inspire a community of peacemakers through creative campaigns and a commitment to non-violence. For more info, visit www.codepinkalert.org.