You can’t get away from the shoes.


Everyone in Iraq is still talking about the shoes thrown at President Bush by a journalist, even though official Iraqi TV has barely shown the incident. A Syrian channel viewed in Iraq is showing the scene non-stop, playing martial music from the days of Saddam in the background and all Arab satellite channels keep repeating the shoe clip.


Many Iraqis I’ve talked to feel shamed by the incident, since insulting a guest is considered a breech of honor. But many others say Bush was an occupier and not a guest, and the incident seems to have tapped a well of bitterness over conditions during the past five years.


The jokes about the shoes keep multiplying. “There has been a decision to prevent all journalists from buying shoes,” one joke goes. Another:” Bush will have to hold all his press conferences in mosques (where worshippers remove their shoes).” A third: “The shoes, what did they do wrong.” And so it goes: the talk of Baghdad.