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Waging Peace

Merna Hecht: The American President visits My Country before Leaving Office (December 2008)

Two days after the news

of Muntazer al-Zaidi throwing his shoes

at the American President,

they came to my country,

flocks of reporters,

they came to my country of empty shoes,

they did not stop at my door

though I have painted it blue

and lined up the shoes of the dead,


shoes of my neighbor

shoes of the tea vendor

shoes of the bread maker 

shoes of my little girl

my oldest boy’s shoes

my husband’s shoes,


they marched past me

their cameras shunned

my stricken face,

my skin the color of grief’s ashes,


I wanted to call to them,

come here, to the ruins

of my blue threshold

put your American feet

into the shoes of the dead

lined up outside my door

waiting on the curb for

something to change.


Muntazer al-Zaidi, you shouted,  

the American President is a dog,

insulted him with your good shoes,

said it was for the orphans, the children, the widows.

I  am told he made light of it,

said it didn’t bother him, noted for all the world

it was a size ten shoe.


You my son, had your shoes in your hands,

the American President has blood on his.



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