Peace could be bad for the Mideast shoe industry

I heard Al-Jazeera was planning the launch of a new reality show called 'If the Shoe Fits, Throw It!'

June 16, 2009 20:36
3 minute read.
Peace could be bad for the Mideast shoe industry

bush gets shoe in face 248.88 ap. (photo credit: AP)

Before we rush into peace and suddenly put a lot of activists and contractors out of work, shouldn't we examine all of the ramifications first? I appreciate what President Barack Obama said during his wildly heralded speech to the students at Cairo University, hailed as a major policy declaration on the "new" American approach to the "Muslim world." But tough love can have its price. For example, in addition to seeing all of the activists and contractors having to find something to do in the "era of peace," we might see other consequences we did not expect. What about the shoe industry? Doesn't anyone care? In the Arab world, half the fun of wearing shoes is knowing that you will probably throw your pair at a tyrant before the soles wear down. And in the Arab world, believe it or not, we go through a lot of shoes. (Though, for most tyrants, their souls have already worn down.) In Iraq, for example, when American contractors pulled down the statue of Saddam Hussein and then ushered in paid celebrants to do what they are paid to do, the celebrants threw their shoes at the statue as it lay on the ground in front of one of Saddam's luxurious palaces. Halliburton collected all the shoes and recycled them, selling them back to the people of Iraq for five times their original cost, helping to insure former vice president Dick Cheney's retirement. The "former" CEO of Halliburton, Cheney also put his massive interests and investments in Halliburton into a trust fund that I trust he will soon cash in. Maybe that explains why he has been spouting off against Obama. Usually has-been former vice presidents fade off into the obscure sunset, but not this Dick. THROWING SHOES is an Arabic cultural tradition - I've been told. When I was growing up, we didn't throw our shoes at anyone, though. In fact, as a child, when my shoes became too small to wear, my mom simply took a carving knife and sliced away the front so my toes would stick out. It was the journalist in American-occupied Iraq who threw his shoes one at a time at president George W. Bush in an expression of disdain who inspired me to "throw" my shoes, too. Well, I didn't throw them, actually. I mailed them to president Bush at the White House using US Priority Mailer, at a cost of about $4.85 in postage, helping to stimulate the crippled American economy. And, they weren't shoes but opened-toe sandals, hand painted with Cuban designs and made of real leather that I purchased one very hot summer day in Miami where I was giving speeches on Middle East peace. (Which reminds me. If we do have a sudden outbreak of peace, I won't be able to give any more speeches.) Maybe that's the difference between Bush and Obama. People were throwing their shoes at Bush, while today, people are throwing their worthless foreclosed home mortgage papers at Obama. No Arabs were inspired by the Iraqi shoe-thrower to go into baseball, but the sales of shoes increased in the Arab world. I read somewhere that an Israeli invented a hi-tech device to not only manufacture new shoes at a faster and less expensive pace, but to create one that was aerodynamic and wind efficient to allow a toss further and with less effort. The Arabs ended up buying the aerodynamic shoes from the Israeli, through an Iranian business connection after long secret negotiations with Jordan's King Abdullah II. Not to be outdone, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced the creation of a new Persian missile shaped like a boot. But when they tested the new shoe-missile, it flew like a pair of ballet slippers, forcing Iran to declare the shoemaking industry a "Zionist conspiracy." I heard Al-Jazeera was planning the launch of a new reality show called "If the Shoe Fits, Throw It!" but the response from the Arab tyrants was so bad it feared being booted out of more Arab countries. It shouldn't have mattered, though. At the rate it's upsetting Arab world tyrants, soon the only bureaus it'll have left will be in the US and Israel. Mothers all across the Arab world started naming their first five kids after famous shoe brands made by Allen Edmonds, Chernins and Steimatzkys. In Dubai, Sheik Makhtoum ordered the construction of a new eight-star hotel shaped like a large shoe right next to the one shaped like a sailboat with a Christian cross. Still, peace might mean no more violence. Well, maybe. We still could see a rise in "shoe-icide bombings." The writer is an American Palestinian columnist, stand-up comedian and radio talk show host in Chicago. He got his first pair of shoes at 16.

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