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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saddam's hometown unveils statue dedicated to man who threw shoe at President Bush

By DAVE GOLDINER
Daily News Staff Writer


Saleh/Getty

A statue dedicated to the man who threw his shoes at President Bush has been erected in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown.

Many Iraqis considered it poetic justice when a journalist tossed his shoes at President George W. Bush last month.

Now the bizarre attack has spawned a real life work of art.

A sofa-sized statue of the shoe was unveiled Thursday in Tikrit, the hometown of the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Baghdad-based artist Laith al-Amari described the fiberglass-and-copper work as a tribute to the pride of the Iraqi people.

The statue is inscribed with a poem honoring Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the Iraqi journalist who stunned the world when he whipped off his loafers and hurled them at Bush during a press conference on Dec. 14.

In the Arab world, even showing someone the sole of a shoe is considered a sign of disrespect.

Al-Zeidi was charged with assaulting a foreign leader, but his lawyer is asking prosecutors to reduce the charges. The trial has been delayed.

The shoe attack spawned a flood of Web quips, satire and even street rallies across the Arab world, where Bush is widely reviled for starting the war in Iraq and backing Israel against the Palestinians.

A Turkish shoemaking company also claimed its sales skyrocketed after some reports said it made the shoes that al-Zeidi tossed at Bush.

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