Tony Blair, possibly Britain’s most unpopular Prime Minister ever, had an unwelcome surprise in Dublin, Ireland today when he was greeted with protesters throwing shoes and eggs at him ( link to video). Blair was in Dublin for a book signing for his new book, “A Journey” and, even though security was high, protesters still got close enough to throw shoes and other projectiles. Tony Blair now joins a long line of world politicians, including George Bush, who’ve had shoes and sundry other items launched at their heads by disgruntled voters. In a world increasingly sick of politicians who lie, cheat and steal, and go against everything many citizens believe in, did Tony Blair deserve shoes hurled at his person? Does any politician?
In some respects, as much as I abhor violence and believe it’s never acceptable, it’s still hard not to sympathize with the shoe throwers. Sick to death of immoral politicians, who do more to line their own pockets than they do to help the country and people they’re supposedly representing, when you can’t show your disgust by getting rid of them in the polling booth, what other measures are left to you? Is throwing shoes or eggs acceptable protest? Because at least it’s not a gun?
In the case of the 200 anti-war protesters who showed up in Dublin today, they are actually just the tip of the worldwide iceberg. In more countries than not now are angry protesters, who would probably never think of laying their hands on a gun, but will willing chance a stint in prison for the satisfaction of beaning their most hated politician in the head with a sandal or a dress shoe.
The shoe throwing at hated politicians, of course, began in the Arab world, where shoes are seen as one of the dirtiest things you can lay your hands on. So, to throw a shoe at a politician shows a level of disgust that’s just about as bad as it gets.
The trend made international news though when an Iraqi journalist lobbed both of his shoes at then-president George Bush, shouting “This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq.” Since then, shoes have been thrown at a Ukranian politician, Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao, an Israeli ambassador, several Indian politicians, the Pakistani president and, now, British ex-prime minister Tony Blair.
Just like most of the other politicians who had shoes thrown at them, when Tony Blair finally left office, most of Britain was so glad to see the back of him, they were too happy to protest. Now, three years later, with the true extent of his lies now apparent, people who used to be just plain disgruntled are now so disgusted with Blair and his forcing Britain to support America in the Iraq ‘war’, shoes sometimes seem to be the least objectionable protest.
Plus, when hundreds of British soldiers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, fighting for something that was a Blair-Bush lie, once George Bush had been the shamed recipient of flung shoes because of his role in the Iraq debacle, Tony Blair, ‘Bush’s Poodle” was sure to follow.
And, as much as chucking a dirty shoe at an elected official probably isn’t the smartest thing to do, at least it shows a bit more restraint than aiming a bullet, so at least we can be thankful for that.
As far as Tony Blair is concerned, several shoes, eggs and a couple of flip flops were thrown in his general direction in Dublin but not a one hit him. Two men seen to be throwing projectiles though were arrested and will likely suffer the consequences. At least, in this case, Tony Blair was lucky and didn’t have to.
Shoes and eggs thrown at Blair in Dublin (video) – The Telegraph