Being self-fashioned iconoclasts, it is rare that we find ourselves engrossed by . . . well, icons, but the image of Muntadar al-Zeidi, the Iraqi reporter who launched a couple of size 10’s at President Bush’s yawping maw has done it for us. Apparently the little fella pictured above has been smitten by Mr. al-Zeidi, too. He even went out and bought himself a pair of Café No Sé brand Bush Bashers with the money he earned working his neighborhood land-mine clearing route.
Ain’t he cute? Just look at his “shoe-of-infinite-insult” and that widdle gap between his two front teefs. He’s so cuddly we could almost forget the past eight years of geo-political assholery perpetrated by Mr. Bush and his ideological coterie. Almost.
But then we remember just how badly the shoe-target-in-chief has screwed up the world. Two wars, hundreds of thousands dead, millions in exile, Lord knows how many American soldiers with PTSD or missing limbs, a nation’s soul smeared with the excreta of a Cheney befouled torture chamber, a 200-year-old Constitutional government finally tamed and gelded, a rising tide of home foreclosures, the global financial system rapidly passing from lividity to rigor mortis, and the distinct possibility of our planet falling into the black holes of either a Great Depression, 2.0, or catastrophic climate change.
It’s truly remarkable. In eight years (in under 3000 days!) the Bush presidency has succeeded in doing what 140 years of European Imperialism, 70 years of Soviet Communism and 30 years of Radical Islamic Fundamentalism could not. He actually broke America.
Ceteris Paribus, that fool deserves a lot more than a boot to the head.
But back to iconic shoe tosser from Baghdad. We’re with him in spirit because it is well beyond the time when people in the news business (which, in some deeply twisted, but important way, we are) should politely and obsequiously whisper suggestions of truth to power. That train left the station the same day America launched a preemptory war on trumped up evidence. Said otherwise, and demonstrated with both wind-up and follow through by Mr. al Zeidi, stop giving these fools your respect. Rome is burning. Your house is on fire. Should you really be kissing the ass of the guy holding the gas can and the match? Fuck no. You should huck a shoe at him. Metaphorically, of course.
In that spirit the La Cuadra of 2009 will continue to bring – along with the satire and the silliness – stories, columns and essays that aim true and hit hard on issues of importance to the region and the world. After networking with some old friends (special thanks to Monica and Earl, beers on us) we’ve managed to bring some incredible writers into the stable. This issue features the voice of John Ross, one of the lions of the Left in Latin American journalism for more than 50 years. John’s got a killer story about the insanely violent drug war in Mexico and the corruption that is providing its fuel. We’ve also landed Joe Bageant, the author of the best seller, Deer Hunting With Jesus: Dispatches From America’s Class War, for a darkly humorous look at global overpopulation and the damage caused by rampant consumerism in the First World. On top of that, we are featuring a powerful story by Barbara Rose Johnston that takes aim at some perpetrators of the genocide that devastated large swaths of the Mayan population during Guatemala’s Civil War.
Rest assured, there’s a ton of fun in the pages, too. Maybe there’s even a bit of truth of beauty and light. But, still, overall, we think Muntadar al-Zeidi would be proud. Peace.
Mike and John