‘Boots throwing syndrome’ hits journalists worldwide

The echo of the Iraqi journalist’s scandalous ‘shoe attack’ on President George Bush has reached the Ukrainian city of Odessa, where a journalist has done the same to one of the Ukraine-NATO Coordination Council leaders.

After Muthathar al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist, threw both his shoes at President George W. Bush during a news conference in Baghdad, the method of protest seems to be gaining popularity in other countries. In Odessa, during the opening ceremony of the Euro Atlantic Cooperation Centre which took place in the South-Ukrainian Pedagogical University, a journalist expressed his protest is a similar way.

Around 100 students were present at the ceremony. Oleg Soskin, a member of the Ukraine-NATO Social League Coordination Council, was making a speech when he was interrupted by a journalist from one of the local TV channels, who shouted: “Students, you’re young and promising, don’t you listen to these stupid and marasmic old men!” The journalist then took off his boots and threw them at Soskin.

Later the journalist, whose name is yet unknown, said that “the issue of boots’ is very vital in the world these days. Just remember how Bush had shoes thrown at him in Iraq… and as for our case, a boot is the most effective way to fight NATO’s expansion in Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, Iraqi journalist Muthathar al-Zaidi continues to gain ‘followers’ among journalists and is also fast becoming something of a national hero. He's received a wave of support including the promise of a luxury limousine and two offers of marriage.

Despite that, things seem to be tough for the ‘hero’ as the judge in his case said al-Zaidi was beaten after the incident and had bruises on his face and around his eyes. Muthathar al-Zaidi has been held in custody since the incident at a press conference on Sunday.

The family of the journalist staged a protest near the highly fortified Green Zone in Baghdad on Friday, calling on the government to release him. Al-Zaidi has reportedly apologised to Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who was taking part in the news conference with George Bush, for embarrassing him before the watching world.