People used to duel to resolve their grievances. One man would hit the other with a glove, rules were set and everything was carried out quite politely despite the savage nature of dueling.
Nowadays, it seems that people would rather throw a shoe at world leaders to get their points across – even if it doesn’t work.
A protestor threw his shoe at Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao during a speech at Cambridge University Monday, making it the second instance – and third shoe – thrown at a world leader in the last two months.
Unlike former President Bush, who had to duck as an Iraqi TV journalist threw both shoes at him during a news conference in Baghdad, Jiabao didn’t have to avoid the shoe, as it landed several feet away from him.
Jiabao’s visit was protested throughout the UK because of China’s actions in Tibet and human rights issues. Of course, so are many visits by influential people to other countries, but the issue of shoe throwing is now in danger of becoming a trend.
While everyone has an opinion of Bush as a president, the office itself deserves respect.
The journalist who threw the shoe at him, Muntadar al-Zaidi, was celebrated in Iraq and a statue of a giant shoe was erected outside an orphanage in honor of the event. The children even helped construct it.
The sofa-sized art piece was removed a few days after the monument was revealed since the political message was deemed inappropriate on government property, but the message remains: an enthusiastic tribute to a man who virtually assaulted the former president of the United States.
With security concerns already high, what happens if security at each and every important event gets ridiculously extreme?
By ridiculously extreme, I mean getting dangerously close to making people attend naked. Maybe people will be forced to check their shoes at the door in the future, but why stop there? I bet cell phones, cameras, wallets and notebooks are just as easy to throw. Women’s purses are weapons caches just waiting to be used, not to mention laptop cases.
These weird occurrences may be an excuse for countries to amp up their security. It doesn’t even have to stop at political figures. Concerts, red carpet events and any other venues where the famous meet the masses have potential of being a shoe-throwing battleground.
One incident makes it a freak occurrence, but two makes it a waiting game. Will someone else crave attention and throw a shoe for 15 minutes of fame and a lifetime of surveillance, or will people realize that shoe throwing is a poor attempt at getting your voice heard?
With enough conflict going on in the world, there needs to be more intelligent, two-way discussion and less childish behavior.
Society needs to tell these shoe throwers what their mothers must have decades ago: throwing things – be it a tantrum or a shoe – is no way to get what you want.
Giana Magnoli is a journalism senior and the Mustang Daily’s managing editor.