Posted Dec. 16, 2008 – All of a sudden, Muntadar al-Zaidi, is a hero.
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Before Sunday, the Iraqi TV reporter who hurled his shoes at President Bush during a news conference was a relatively obscure figure, even in his own land. But by Monday al-Zaidi was the darling of the Arab world.
Iraqis poured into the streets Monday demanding that he be released. Iraqi authorities, who have labeled al-Zaidi as a zero rather than a hero, arrested and charged him with “aggressive actions against an official and a visitor of the Iraqi government.”
It wasn’t only Iraqis who praised al-Zaidi’s anti-Bush, anti-U.S. actions.
For example, in Libya, a charity led by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's daughter Aisha is honoring Zaidi with an award for bravery.
"What he did represents a victory for human rights across the world," said the organization, Wa Attassimou. Lebanon’s newspaper al-Akbar proclaimed “a kiss goodbye. The United States has “blessed” Iraq with looting, Abu Ghraib, car bombings, destruction, and cholera, opined the newspaper, which said it is looking forward to "another farewell kiss, when U.S. troops leave Iraqi soil."
However, Iraqi law enforcement officials say al-Zaidi could spend the next seven years in prison. Yaseen Majeed, a top media adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, characterized al-Zaidi as "a disgrace to journalism" who should be punished to the max.