Tuesday, February 3, 2009

China's Wen Target of Shoe

A man at Cambridge University has followed in the footsteps of that Iraqi reporter from December.

From The Associated Press:

CAMBRIDGE, England — A protester threw an athletic shoe at the Chinese prime minister, Wen Jiabao, during his speech at Cambridge University’s concert hall on Monday, seven weeks after a similar incident involving President Bush in Iraq. The shoe missed Mr. Wen by at least 30 feet, but security officials promptly escorted the protester from the hall.

The police arrested the man on suspicion of a public order offense. Witnesses described him as a goateed European in his 20s or 30s speaking foreign-accented English. They said he blew a whistle as Mr. Wen spoke, causing him to pause and look up. “You should be ashamed of yourselves,” the man said, according to witnesses. “How can you listen to the lies he’s telling?” he shouted, in a video of the incident shown on Sky News television.

Mr. Wen appeared unruffled. Some in the audience said he called the protest “despicable.” Others said that when he resumed the speech, to an audience of Chinese government ministers, university officials and students, he assured them that “the relations between Britain and China” would not be affected by the protest. A police spokeswoman gave no other details about the protester, Reuters reported.

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I'm really not a fan of these hot new shoe protests.

George W. Bush was an awful president and I believe he permanently tarnished the United States. I absolutely loathe him. Yet I did not think that the incident where an Iraqi reporter who threw his shoe at President Bush was very funny.

I understand that many feel as though Bush is directly responsible for unimaginable amounts of violence throughout the world, yet I don't believe throwing a shoe at him is a very appropriate way to air one's grievances.

I feel the same way about today's incident as I do Bush's.

Hurling one's shoe at a world leader in front of crowds of reporters is childish and focuses all of the attention on the shoe-thrower, not the cause in which the thrower is, supposedly, concerned about. It's counter-productive and meaningless. The resulting stories about the incident are not about supposed grievances, but are instead about the thrower and the leader's security.

I will say this regarding the two incidents though: at least the Bush attacker was pretty damn accurate. This guy today missed Wen with his shoe by about thirty feet.

Here is a video of the event:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree. Shoes are not a substitute for challenging ideas.

I fear this is an increasing trend and avoids intelligent discourse that is necessary for human progress.

Going to see controversial speakers in college like Ann Coulter and Ted Nugent was very interesting and there are many ideas that students could have asked position clarification questions or intellectual challenges. Instead there was just a lot of shouting or insults. Ideas are what matter and a shoe is no substitute.