An Iraqi journalist who made headlines in 2008 for throwing his shoes at then-U.S. President George W. Bush is running for office.
Muntadhar al-Zeidi told reporters Friday while campaigning for a seat in the Iraqi parliament that he wants the United States to apologize for the Iraq war and to compensate all Iraqi families affected by the occupation.
His campaign’s Facebook page prominently features the video of Zeidi throwing his two shoes at Bush’s head in quick succession in 2008 and shouting, “This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog. This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.”
Zeidi was immediately tackled by guards following the incident and was sentenced to three years in prison. He served nine months behind bars and then moved to Beirut, Lebanon and Europe. While he only recently returned to Iraq, his protest made him famous in his home country, as well as across the Arab world.
Zeidi, now 39, said Friday, “I really cannot say that hitting George Bush with a shoe will guarantee me votes or not, actually this is not my goal.” Zeidi said he is running on a platform that includes holding accountable politicians who supported Bush.
“They should be kicked out of Iraq just like we did with the U.S. occupying force. George Bush is gone, too — they all must leave Iraq, they can’t stay indefinitely,” he said.
In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt. In 2003, Iraqis took off their shoes and used them to hit a statue of Saddam Hussein after U.S. Marines toppled it to the ground.
Iraqi’s national elections are scheduled for May 12.