Former Iraq Envoy L. Paul Bremer Encounters Shoe Hurling Tradition in London

Two shoes went flying targeting L. Paul “Jerry” Bremer, former ambassador and Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq following the 2003 invasion.  Mr. Bremer who was previously Ambassador to the Netherlands in 1983 and Ambassador-at-Large for Counterterrorism in 1986 still had good reflexes.

After the second shoe flew across the room and he failed to catch it, Mr. Bremer said,  “You should improve your aim if you want to do something like that.”

The shoe hurling incident happened at a meeting organized by a think tank at the British Parliament.  As the shoe hurler was removed from the room, the man could be heard shouting profanity addressed to Bremer, who he said is responsible for destroying his country.

Peace restored, Mr. Bremer who very quickly regained his composure told the attendees, “If he had done that while Saddam Hussein was alive, he would be a dead man by now.”

Well, actually, that would only be true if Saddam Hussein was the target of the shoe attack.

Press reports identified the shoe hurler as Iraqi national Yasser al-Samarani. He was later released on condition of not attending any future meetings or activities held at the House of Commons, according to British media.

Shoe hurling is a traditional Arab gesture of disrespect. This man made an effort to attend the meeting, and waited for his turn to speak to Mr. Bremer and publicly register his disrespect. Mission accomplished. The Iraq war may have been over for the rest of the world, but it will not be over for a long while for people like Yasser al-Samarani.
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One response

  1. I love how Bremer spins that. What’s amazing (and frightening) is to see diplomats and politicians alike spinning gold from obvious, well, not gold. File this under, “Ungrateful dude should be happy we got rid o’ the Saddam.”