Give Shoes to President Bush

Give Shoes to President Bush

Muntadhar al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist working for the TV channel Al-Baghdadia, gave his shoes to President Bush on December 14. In this season of giving, should we do no less?

According to CNN, “reports suggest that al-Zaidi knows firsthand the anguish of the Iraq war. Al-Zaidi was kidnapped in November 2007 and released three days later, according to Reporters Without Borders. Al-Zaidi is from Baghdad’s Sadr City, one of the country’s biggest slums and the site of some of the conflict’s bloodiest battles.”

al-Zaidi is in detention, undergoing “testing” per CNN. Iraqis and journalists are demanding his immediate release, and hoping that testing does not mean torture.

Sending shoes to President Bush serves two purposes.

It reminds the President and the President-Elect that the war has cost the lives of over 1 million Iraqis. Sending shoes highlights civilians deaths, as has been done so brilliantly by the American Friends Service Committee in its traveling Eyes Wide Open exhibit.

It supports al-Zaidi and all Iraqis who have suffered due to the war.

Please think of adding a note to your package to the President. Please ask him to ‘pardon’ Muntadhar al-Zaidi by asking for his immediate release. And please send other appropriate messages to the President.

Here is the mailing address:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

The White House has no rules against sending gifts to President Bush. reads in pertinent part:

“Gifts & Items Sent to the White House

Items sent to the White House often experience a significant delivery delay and can be irreparably harmed due to the security screening process. Therefore, please do not send items of personal importance, such as family photographs, because items may be unable to be returned. [broken-in shoes seem like the perfect gift idea!]

We also request that gifts of a consumable nature, such as food, flowers, and other perishable items, not be sent to the White House due to the security screening process. While the President and Mrs. Bush and Vice President and Mrs. Cheney appreciate your thoughtfulness, they request that you look instead to your local community for opportunities to assist your neighbors in need.”

Where to get shoes?

Goodwill and Salvation Army have tons of inexpensive used shoes (size 10 may be right, but any size may do – after all, there are a lot of feet in the White House). ┬áIf people have old shoes in their closets that are not suitable for Goodwill or Salvation Army, that would be even better. Sending children’s shoes would serve as a useful reminder to President Bush that his policies have killed Iraqi children. At the same time, please send only children’s shoes that are not suitable for giving to children, as we do not want to deprive children of their use. We also discourage sending shoes that people may need this winter. This is in keeping with the White House’s request that we consider our neighbors in need when sending gifts to the President.