How to Read a Flying Shoe? Duck and Shrug.

Image

Footwear – viewed in the Middle East as low and unclean – was hurled at his head, but a seemingly oblivious George W. Bush just ducked and shrugged.

December 14, 2008 was a memorable day in the histrionics of polished shoes and politics. But, there was one question left for journalists to ponder in this saga.

           What does it take to actually offend George W. Bush?

If not the greatest insult an Arab can muster – the hurling of footwear at a man’s head – then what?Is it that the photographic moment ricochets globally and stays, replaying in an endless loop for the ages?Or maybe that the Iraqi shoe-hurler himself is all but deified, replete with offers of marriage?

No, not even those humiliations managed to penetrate the willfully oblivious presidential bubble, after Bush so deftly ducked and just as quickly shrugged off the leather projectiles at a that Baghdad news conference.

“Whether or not Bush gets it – and he is famous for not getting international etiquette – this was a monumental offence,” says Mark McCrum, whose book ‘Going Dutch In Beijing’ chronicles faux pas in many cultures.

“The thrower didn’t just use shoes, which are the lowest, most unclean thing in his world, he called Bush a dog. The combination of the two, it just doesn’t get worse than that.”

In fairness to Bush, it is easy to miss the sheer magnitude of shoe symbolism in the Middle East. But think back and you might recall that shoes played a starring role at the beginning of the Bush’s Iraq ordeal five years ago, when, just as the old regime collapsed, Iraqis spontaneously began removing their shoes and beating them against anything bearing the likeness of Saddam Hussein.

“Whatever George Bush makes of it, the throwing of the shoes comes from a place embedded deep in the culture of the Middle East. This was a cultural message. And the worst one available.”

 

Excerpts from article by Mitch Potter:

http://www.thestar.com/news/2008/12/20/the_greatest_insult_of_all.html

 

Photo Source:

https://www.google.ca/search?q=shoe+throwing+at+bush+images&es_sm=93&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=XaxNU7z7KqjN8wHsqYHQCQ&ved=0CCoQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=643

 

Advertisements

Barefoot on Holy Ground – A Lesson from the Torah

Image

(Excerpt from: “Walking barefoot: Jewish lessons in leadership” by Rabbi Joel Seltzer / Jewish World blogger     | Jan. 6, 2013.)

 

“This whole barefoot theory is nothing new. No, quite to the contrary. In this past week’s Torah portion we read of the first time someone was advised to remove their shoes in order to be in touch with the ground more completely; the person who took off their shoes was Moses, and the advice-giver was God.

In this past week’s parasha, Parashat Shemot, Moses encounters the Presence of God for the first, but certainly not the last, time. While he is tending to his father-in-law’s flock, he stumbles upon Mt. Horev, and there Moses sees the miraculous vision of the burning bush. It is during this moment of theophany when God asks what may seem like an unusual request:

God says: “Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5)

The commentators are puzzled by this request. Why does God ask Moses to remove his shoes? Is it because there was a line in the sand? Is it because our shoes are naturally dirty and therefore unfit to be in the presence of God?

One possible answer comes from the Hasidic Rebbe, the “Ollalot Ephraim.” He writes:

         ‘The world beneath our feet is always filled with small stones and debris. When we wear shoes, we easily walk upon all sorts of small things which stand in our way; in fact we barely notice them. But, when we walk barefoot, we feel every single stone and pebble, every kotz vedardar, every thorn and every thistle, every last rock hurts us. And this then is the hinted meaning of the text: To Moses, the preeminent leader of the people Israel, God said: “Shal na’alekha” “take off your shoes,” meaning, the leader of each and every generation needs to be aware of every barrier, every experience of suffering that is placed upon the way. A leader must feel the pain of the people, and must be sensitive to their every suffering.’

This is the meaning of true leadership; understanding the power that comes when we walk barefoot through our lives. When, instead of ignoring the pain and suffering of others that abounds, we make ourselves vulnerable to it. When, instead of choosing a life of padding and cushion, we understand that we were meant to feel every rock and every pebble, every thorn and every thistle of the ground beneath our feet.”

 

For the full article, refer to:

http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/rabbis-round-table/walking-barefoot-jewish-lessons-in-leadership.premium-1.492180

 

Photo Source: http://africaisnear.blogspot.com/2009/04/take-off-your-shoes.html