Several news reports are saying that Muntadhar al-Zaidi has been beaten and possibly tortured while he was in custody after the shoe-throwing incident. This morning, I read reports that he has written an apology for his "ugly act." People are saying that the apology was written under the threat of further torture.
This is in no way tolerable. I don't personally agree with al-Zaidi's act (although I understand and sympathize with why he did it), but getting harassment like this is much, much worse. If I was saying that the power that comes with freedom of speech should be checked by responsibility, then what is there to say about the power that comes with physical and military might?
My last post, by the way, caused a huge comment war on my Facebook account. I was really impressed with all the different opinions people articulated - it's great to get conversations like this going. But on the other hand, I hope that we (myself included) don't get too sucked up in the media frenzy over flashy stories like this and forget about all the other things going on in Iraq.
There are lots of other, underreported incidents happening in the country that deserve the same attention, if not more. Just check out Haifa Zangana's City of Widows: An Iraqi Woman's Account of War and Resistance. That book shows you what's going on in Iraq from a mature and articulate Iraqi point of view - something you don't get to see too often in the mainstream media. Her articles in the Guardian are just as interesting.
What's important as we try to understand what's going on in Iraq is some form of balance and objectivity. Only then can we possibly work at creating solutions for the problems that have ravaged the country since (and before) 2003.