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So the Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi was finally sentenced this week to three years in prison for throwing his loafers at U.S. President George W. Bush during a press conference (and missing!). While his lawyers are busy filing an appeal, many critics are in an uproar as to whether the punishment fits the crime. As an official mediator for the new Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI)–established five minutes ago during a hyper-caffeinated reverie in my one-bedroom walk up in the heart of Elmhurst, Queens (Facebook Fan Page forthcoming, folks)–I am personally proposing the following possible alternative punitive measures:
1. Two years of indentured servitude as Dubya’s personal bootblack…and reading tutor.
2. Must walk barefoot anywhere he travels within the Middle East (no exceptions for piping hot sand, camel dung or depleted uranium dust).
3. From this point onward will only be allowed to report on discounted footwear (the dreaded Payless Beat).
4. Forced to work four years as an underpaid laborer at an undisclosed Nike Indonesian sweatshop as a gofer for underage co-slave workers (get coffee, change diapers, sweep up severed phalanges).
5. Obliged to lend his tootsies, at will, to any charitable Foot Fetish Galas (expected to show up in formal leather choker, spiked armlets and chain-link leash).
6. Five-year cobbler apprenticeship with Daniel Day-Lewis, in exchange for character study which will culminate in his portrayal in the forthcoming Martin Scorsese biopic: “Shoe Missed Me”: Muntadhar al-Zeidi’s Dark Sole. Leonardo DiCaprio will play Dubya (because of the instant Green Light not his undercooked acting chops).
7. Required to serve as a freelance foot fungus scraper/taster for various third-world podiatrists/witch doctors.
8. Expected to register and participate in an accredited Shoe-Throwing Anger Management Course where he will learn to sublimate his misguided shoe-chucking urges into wholesome non-violent activities such as basket-weaving, baking, poetry or perhaps even indignant Op-Ed pieces.
9. Has to complete compulsory training until he no longer “throws like a girl” and learns how to aim properly.
10. Is awarded Nobel Peace Prize.