Shoe Jihad: A Satire

By M. Shahid Alam

The time has come, the Walrus said,
To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing wax—
Of cabbages—and kings… —
Lewis Carroll

These kleptocrats throw themselves at the feet
of Western plutocracies: they spurn
the real source of power – their own people –
seeking clientage under Western boots.
Lesser rogues gravitate to bigger ones:
this is the law of global hegemony.
This tendency emerges again and again
as long as its victims stay hidebound.
These lesser rogues – Zardari, Karzai,
Abdullah, Mubarak, Abbas –
will get their marching orders from DC,
hold down their own people for a fee,
unless the people, every one of them,
pick up their shoes, sandals, chappals
(any old footwear will do),
and point them at these scoundrels,
a shot across the bow of their kleptocracies.
If this does not work (and it might not),
ask the shoe-throwing Iraqi.
He knew better what to do with a shoe.

– M. Shahid Alam teaches economics at Northeastern University. He is author of Israeli Exceptionalism: The Detabilizing Logic of Zionism (Palgrave Macmillan, November 2009). He contributed this piece to Contact him at

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