Hero or villain?

iht shoe thrower headline.jpgThe Iraqi TV journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi, better known these days as the shoe thrower of Baghdad, continues to make the headlines today. It appears he’s quite the hero in much of the Middle East especially with his family,

“I swear to Allah, he is a hero,” said his sister, who goes by the
nickname Umm Firas, as she watched a replay of her brother’s attack on
an Arabic satellite station. “May Allah protect him.” link

However, in the same article, his old journalism trainer in Lebanon isn’t quite so impressed with his lack of journalistic detachment as the family in Baghdad,

“Regrettably, he didn’t learn anything from the course in Lebanon,
where we were taught ethics of journalism and how to be detached and
neutral,” [said Zanko Ahmed, a Kurdish journalist who attended a journalism training course with al-Zeidi in Lebanon.] link

Michael Totten, a  blogger and journalist who recently returned to the U.S. from Iraq, tells the National Review Online how al-Zeidi doesn’t realistically reflect the Iraqi journalists he has met,

“In the Combined Press Information
Center in Baghdad, where journalists are credentialed by the U.S. Army,
is a poster showing the faces of all the journalists killed in Iraq
last year. There are dozens of faces on that poster, and almost every
single one of them is Iraqi. Iraqi journalists are very brave, much
braver than I am, and I’d hate to see Americans get the wrong idea
about these people from one lousy incident.” link

The LA Times Babylon & Beyond blog has a round up of reaction across the Middle East.