Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bob Ostertag: Throw My Shoes, Too

Okay, folks, this is going to be fun. You'll need a digital camera, your shoes, and a willingness to make a statement in defense of free speech and in the name of truth. If, like me, you do not currently have a digital camera, you have a friend with one. Be ready to share this article with them (or this one!): because this is a chance to make a meaningful statement that may help a man who is in some deep shit - and a statement that, alas, may be as close to justice as the corrupt, evil motherfuckers who have been running the show in the United States for far too long now are ever going to get. (Harpers has a new article about the moral imperative of bringing the Bush regime to trial for their crimes. Would anyone like to take bets on the likelihood of that happening? I think a bunch of pictures of people with shoes in their hands is about as close to justice as we're going to get).

(Photo lifted off Bob Ostertag's Huffington Post article, more on which is below. )

Allow me a moment's explanation first. Bob Ostertag (pictured), for those who do not know, is an experimental musician, political activist and provocateur, and Yes Men affiliate. Along with Pierre Hebert, he's one of the men behind a brilliant live animation called Between Science and Garbage, available on Tzadik, which deals in part with the Iraq war, and which was performed a few years ago at the Western Front. He is also the guy who, a few years ago, made a decisive step to put his money where his mouth is re: the music industry by posting all his recordings that he owned the copyright to for free download online. (I see there's a new project on his site up for grabs, called w00t - an Ostertagian sound-collage, we presume, comprised of music from video games. It sounds fun, but I have some writin' to do tonight and will have to come back to it). Anyhow, Ostertag has created a Flickr group where people can post pictures of themselves with their shoes, in support of a 28 year old Iraqi journalist, Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who threw his shoes at George W. Bush last week. Ostertag writes,

Know what Bush was saying when al-Zeidi threw his shoes? "The war is not over. But . . . it is decidedly on its way to being won."

And Muntadhar al-Zeidi lost it. Threw both his shoes, yelling that shoe #1 was " a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people!" His second shoe was "for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq!"

This was a gift to the entire world. We all owe a debt to this 28-year old journalist who, for one beautiful moment, letting go of all rational calculation of the possible consequences, stood up and spoke truth to power.

He is currently being held by Iraqi security forces and faces an unknown fate. I would not want to be in his shoes right now. I have started a Flickr group called Throw My Shoes Too! I put up a picture of myself with my shoes... In support of Mr. al-Zeidi, I urge you to go to Throw My Shoes Too! and put up a picture of your own. You can also leave a comment.

I presume, based on Mr. Ostertag's feelings about copyright, that he doesn't mind that I have lifted a picture from his Huffington Post article with which to illustrate this.

Now: who wants to photograph me with my shoes?

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