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Shoe-throwing monument removed from Iraqi orphanage

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  • Provincial governor says government facilities can't be used for politics
  • Huge sculpture of shoe thrown at former President Bush was at orphanage
  • Orphans helped artist build the $5,000 sculpture
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The monument commemorating the journalist who hurled his shoes at President George W. Bush was taken down a day after it was erected, local officials in Tikrit told CNN.

A monument to a shoe thrown at former President Bush is unveiled at the Tikrit Orphanage complex.

A monument to a shoe thrown at former President Bush is unveiled at the Tikrit Orphanage complex.

Assisted by kids at the Tikrit Orphanage, sculptor Laith al-Amiri on Tuesday erected a huge brown replica of one of the shoes hurled at Bush last month by journalist Muntadhir al-Zaidi during a press conference in Baghdad.

But officials from Salaheddin province told CNN that the monument was removed after a request from the central government, which has charges pending against al-Zaidi -- now in an Iraqi jail.

After the request was made, Iraqi police visited the location to make sure that the shoe monument was removed.

"We will not allow anyone to use the government facilities and buildings for political motives," said Abdullah Jabara, Salaheddin deputy governor.

Al-Zaidi's angry gesture touched a defiant nerve throughout the Arab and Muslim world. He is regarded by many people as a hero, and demonstrators last month took to the streets in the Arab world and called for his release.

The shoe monument, made of fiberglass and coated with copper, consists of the shoe and a concrete base. The entire monument is 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) high. The shoe is 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) long and 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) wide.

The orphans helped al-Amiri build the $5,000 structure in 15 days, said Faten Abdulqader al-Naseri, the orphanage director.

"Those orphans who helped the sculptor in building this monument were the victims of Bush's war," al-Naseri said. "The shoe monument is a gift to the next generation to remember the heroic action by the journalist."

Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi leader toppled by the United States in 2003, was from the Tikrit region.

Al-Zaidi marked his 30th birthday in jail earlier this month. One of his brothers told CNN he "in good health and is being treated well."

Al-Zaidi's employer, TV network al-Baghdadia, keeps a picture of him at the top left side of the screen with a calendar showing the number of days he has spent in detention. The network has been calling for his release.

By tradition, throwing a shoe, is the most insulting act in the Arab world.

CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

All About George W. BushIraq WarTikrit

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