"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What Defines a Hero?

I am not about to sit here and lie about my knowledge of politics. I pretty much only know the basics and personally choose not to bother myself with the stress of nationwide and worldwide politics. To me, Its all jibberish. Sure, I voted. Sure, I didn't like George W. Bush. Why? Because on my basic level of knowledge of politics on the surface, I didn't see any clear evidence of good accomplishments Bush was making in his presidency. Barack Obama, although many are already unimpressed, I have a good feeling about. But that's not what this essay is about.

The article I choose is titled, "Iraqi Shoe Flinger Gets Hero Treatment" and was featured in the USA Today and written by columnist Nadeem Majeed. Last December, Iraqi TV journalist Al-Zeidi threw both of his shoes at President George Bush during a speech in Baghdad. Bush was unharmed, and Zeidi was immediately arrested and thrown in a Baghdad jail for nine months (originally a three year sentence). Iraqis have many mixed feelings about this, as do I, America, and the Bush family. Most Iraqis are treating Zeidi as if he saved 100 people from a burning building. On a telephone interview an Iraqi quotes, "All Arab people…hope to get the chance of doing of doing what (Al-Zeidi) did." Zeidi, due to be released this Monday has received the following in his honor: Full pay by his employer while he was in jail, a two story fully furnished villa bought by his employer, numerous wedding offers, with brides coming "loaded with jewels and gold", A prince in Qatar has offered to pay for all his health care, A businessman offered Zeidi $10Million for the "famous" shoes… His brother quotes, "What he did was heroic and deserves all this appreciation from people who hate occupation".

Bush has downplayed the incident, despite him looking foolish ducking the shoes being chucked at him on national T.V. He plays it off as a "show of dissent in a newly democratic Iraq." Former first lady Laura Bush calls it no laughing matter and it was a direct assault. A common Iraqi man also has mixed feelings as he quotes "He should have spent more time in jail to learn how to respect guests".

What it comes down to, is how is one to define a hero? Webster defines hero as " a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities or 'one that shows great courage'". Clearly, the Iraqis think that Zeidi fits this description on their side. Technically, every "side", every "team" has their own hero, and he/she is the enemy, or the "villain" to the opposing side. But who is right? In the Iraqi eye, George Bush might seem like the "evil villain" which is why they feel no remorse for treating him with disrespect. Take a common action movie for example. We (the audience) are exposed to one side, one team. We learn to love our hero character, we are rooting for his/her side throughout. The movie usually shows clips (maybe) of the villain side doing horrible things to detriment the "good side". But if you flip it around and look at both sides of the story, the "villain" is doing what he feels what is right and what he needs to do. Excluding your typical comicbook where the villain is just some nasty troublemaker that is in it for pure joy and evil, most villains nowadays are common people that are fighting for their own cause, their own dignity and respect, or fighting for their own country. Technically, in the eye of many other countries, the USA is the "bad guy". But who is the "good guy" in every American movie? Duh. Its all about whose side is portrayed and how.

So, yes, I think it is silly and disrespectful of Zeidi to have thrown his shoes at our president. I think it is absurd as to how much treatment and appraisal he is receiving. But on the other hand, I definitely knows where he and the rest of Iraq is coming from. Here is their country, living the way they liked it and we come in a change everything around and get in everyone's business. Who would like that? What if Al-Qaeda or Sadam Hussein were to have ever received the unlikely chance to make a speech here in the U.S.? Would we not treat the person that threw a shoe, or something worse at him as a hero? Think about it…

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