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 is professor of economics at Northeastern University. This is an excerpt from his forthcoming book, Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism (Palgrave Macmillan, November 2009).