Letter to the Journal News 12-16-08

Letter to the Journal News

December 16, 2008


Speaking of shoes and how times have changed!


In 1651, writer George Herbert (not a relative of George Herbert Walker Bush) wrote “For want of a nail the shoe was lost, for want of a shoe the horse is lost, for want of a horse the rider is lost.” Of course in our more modern era, Ben Franklin and others added on the extra line that for, “want of a rider the battle and thence the war was lost.” On October 12, 1960, Nikita Khrushchev, the Premier of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party’s First Secretary pounded his shoe on his desk during a debate at the United Nations. This boorish action was universally condemned as conduct unbefitting a head of state. Most Americans and our Allies mocked Khrushchev’s crude behavior. His actions, and later statements, that the Soviet Union “would bury us” were widely seen as exacerbating the Cold War. Besides the fact that American no longer makes shoes, the world was “entertained” the other day by an Iraqi journalist throwing his shoes at George W. Bush, our lame duck leader. Was there American or worldwide indignation over this “shoe” incident? No! Throwing shoes at someone in the Muslim world is tantamount to a very high-level insult, and not only did the Iraqi people and their Arab brothers applaud this audacious act, but some have offered millions for one of those shoes! How remarkable is it that our president is now the target of “shoe throwing” and no one cares “a fig” here in America. As a result, this “Saturday Night Live” style event has become a world-wide “YouTube” joke, and the Arab-Muslim world finds it great theater. Maybe we all have learned a lesson about the calamitous career of George W. Bush, and that his long-awaited departure can only improve our standing abroad.


Richard J. Garfunkel

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