Originally published in The News Blog on 1 April 2013.
History of shoe throwing, shoe tossing or “shoe-cide” attacks is probably as old as humans. It can be safely inferred that initially the only intended use of shoes was to protect feet. However with the passage of time other ingenious uses of shoes were discovered. The potential of shoes as a form of effective communications tool was one such amazing discovery.
The only thing which can be agreed about this discovery is that the inventor was definitely not a male. It was for sure the creative spark of some lady wife, who would have someway discovered, that shoes in her feet can be very effectively used to communicate her feelings to husband in times of need. After few hit and trials many concerned wives would have found it satisfying that this weapon of man destruction was very effective and yet “safe “enough to cause any irreparable damage to their “beloved husbands”.
On the other hand, wise husbands did not worry much about the use of shoes against them as it allowed her anger to vent in a short time. After a shoe attack most of the wives would feel embarrassed and might become apologetic which otherwise is a rare possibility. Above all it is economically more feasible to receive a flying sandal on head, rather than taking her for an expensive dinner as an effort to please her!
Taking lead from the above narrative a story can be further cooked up that few affected husbands shared their experience of home shoe attacks with their political minded friends. This encouraged many to try the same shoe therapy on their own chosen leaders, after all it was successfully used by wives on their own chosen husbands!
From there on the phenomenon caught on and rest as they say is the history.
In modern days shoe as a weapon has proliferated globally. The shoe therapy is now considered a complete communication package in which sender (the owner) send his message in the form of a shoe making use of a freely available medium. An experienced shoecide attacker, on the condition of anonymity offered following pieces of advice for the interested:-
- Choose old pair for a shoecide attack as chances are that one would never get his shoe back.(This is in contrast to home shoe attacks where same shoe can be reused).
- Never throw both the shoe; someone may get a free pair of shoes due to your adventure.
- Always choose the target at your own risk .Never blame other innocent people (like the writer of this article) for instigating you on such an attack.
- Do apply the basic principles of rocket science and external ballistics. Consider the distance from the target, elevation angle, amount of force and the terminal velocity required for your projectile to reach its destination.
- A successful tactic by legendry shoecide attackers is to chant some slogan prior to unleashing the beast.(Don’t compare with home shoe attacks)
- The experience has taught to be as spontaneous as possible. There is a need to hurry otherwise the “intruders” around would soon overcome you.
- Keep your lawyer ready, as he would have lot of work to do in the after math of your adventure.
- Practice to run with one shoe in your feet. This will help while escaping from the venue.
- Prior to leaving for the mission, do not forget to say good bye to your family as you might not return home for quite some time and many jails do not allow visitors!
Coming to the Hall of Famous Shoe Tosses ……
Globally the phenomenon of shoe tossing has gained momentum in recent times. A popular incident occurred on 14 December 2008 in Baghdad when Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw his shoes at U.S. President George Bush in a press conference .He was captured, put into prison for an year and released several months early for good behavior. Zaidi later published a memoir called “The Last Salute to President Bush.” He himself was ironically shoed by another Iraqi journalist in Paris, who accused him of “working for dictatorship in Iraq”. Zaidi later said “He stole my technique”.
In 2009, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao came under a shoe attack while giving a speech at Cambridge University . In the April of same year a shoe was thrown on Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Ahmedabad . On 23 January 2012, a shoe find its way towards Rahul Gandhi during an election rally. He later said
“If some people think that throwing a shoe will deter me and force me to run away, then they are mistaken. Rahul Gandhi will not run away”(really?)
Shoe throwing incidents had also been reported against Dr Ahmedi Nijad the Iranian President and Tony Blair, former prime minister of U.K .
Pakistan‘s obsession with shoe tossing…….
First widely reported event of a shoe attack in Pakistan occurred on 7 April 2008 against Mr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, the former Chief Minister of Sind. A similar incident occurred on 7 August 2010, when two shoes were thrown on the President Mr Asif Ali Zardari in Birmingham UK. The 50-year old shoe thrower was captured and later released without any charge. On 6 February 2011, a boy hurled shoe at Pervez Musharraf in Britain. On 29 Mar 2013 Pervaiz Musharraf became the victim of yet another shoe attack when he was found by a flying shoe in Sindh High Court building.
The seemingly hilarious activity of throwing shoes is in fact a strong form of protest by the weak against the powerful. Since killing is never the intention and handling is not desirable, the art (and science) of “shoe tossing” offers a solution to express “intense hatred” in a “subtle” way. As far as it cause no physical harm and force the victim to rethink about their certain actions the practice seems undamaging.
The Shoe tossing might not be the civilized way of protesting and should not be encouraged. However in foreseeable future practice seems not stopping! In modern times as the democracy has became the mantra of progress and enlightenment many people think that shoes in their feet also deserve the freedom of expression! They might be wrong.