Iraqi journalist's 'fling' at Bush boosts shoe sales
Nick Cargo
Published: Sunday December 21, 2008

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When television reporter Muntazer al-Zaidi lodged the grave insult of hurling his black leather Oxford shoes at President Bush during his final visit on December 14, the world heard "This is a farewell kiss!" Turkish shoemaker Ramazan Baydan also heard the sound of a cash register opening.

"We’ve been selling these shoes for years but, thanks to Bush, orders are flying in like crazy," Baydan said.

Orders for the "Bush Shoe," formerly known as Ducati Model 271, are coming in to Baydan Ayakkabicilik San. & Tic. from around the world. 15,000 pairs are currently being made for sale in Iraq in addition to 95,000 destined for Europe and 18,000 to be sold in the United States. Advertising posters with the slogan "Goodbye Bush, Welcome Democracy" are being distributed in Turkey and the Middle East.

"We have been producing that specific style, which I personally designed, for 10 years," Baydan said, "so I couldn't have missed it, no way."

Baydan plans to hire 100 more people to meet the demand. "Mr. Bush served some good purpose to the economy before he left," quipped Baydan general manager Serkan Turk.

On Sunday, a complaint was been filed against Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki's security guards who took al-Zaidi into custody on December 14, seeking damages for what his lawyer called an assault.

"There are bruises on his body," al-Zaidi's lawyer, Dhiya al-Saadi, told Agence France-Presse. "He has lost a tooth in his upper jaw, and his left eye is bloodshot."

Al-Zaidi was reportedly 'too injured' to leave his jail cell when he appeared before a judge on Decmeber 17. He faces up to 15 years in prison on a charge of "aggression against a foreign head of state during an official visit."