Shoe-throw­ing journo stand­ing for par­lia­ment

Love and beauty go hand in hand for Brazil­ian se­nior

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - WORLD - Jo­hannes My­burgh

AN Iraqi jour­nal­ist who threw his shoes at US Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W Bush dur­ing a news con­fer­ence a decade ago is stand­ing for par­lia­ment, cam­paign­ing against cor­rup­tion and the sec­tar­i­an­ism that has plagued his coun­try.

TV cor­re­spon­dent Mun­tazer al-Zaidi be­came fa­mous across Iraq and the Mid­dle East after throw­ing his footwear at Bush dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in Baghdad in 2008, shout­ing “This is a ROS­ALIA Pereira had two rea­sons to cel­e­brate on Thurs­day – her mirac­u­lously rekin­dled true love 40 years to the day after their first date and be­ing crowned Sao Paulo’s se­nior beauty queen.

“To­day is even more spe­cial be­cause of this,” the 62-year-old said after win­ning the beauty con­test, which aims to give the el­derly a bit of fun just be­fore Mother’s Day to­mor­row.

“To par­tic­i­pate, to have the courage to par­tic­i­pate, is proof that the el­derly to­day are ac­tive and this is very good, be­cause it boosts ev­ery­one’s con­fi­dence,” Pereira said.

Now in its 15th year, the con­test is run by a com­mu­nity cen­tre for the el­derly.

“This is part of so­cial in­clu­sion, get­ting peo­ple out of their houses,” the cen­tre’s so­cial in­te­gra­tion di­rec­tor, Nil­ton da Silva Guedes, said.

Di­vorced mother-of-two Pereira, a com­mer­cial man­ager, is no stranger to the cat­walk, hav­ing won an­other ti­tle in her sub­urb in 2016.

But what is beauty with­out love? Pereira said her great­est achieve­ment was “re­dis­cov­er­ing the big love of my life”.

She re­cently rekin­dled a re­la­tion­ship with her very first boyfriend after he found her through Face­book, 35 years after she turned down his mar­riage pro­posal. “I was very young . . . Af­ter­wards, I re­gret­ted it,” she said.

When they met again, she was 60. “The next day, he asked me to marry him and put a ring on my fin­ger.”

Thurs­day was 40 years to the day since their first date. – AFP farewell kiss from the Iraqi peo­ple, you dog!“

To­day, Zaidi is stand­ing for par­lia­ment as a mem­ber of the move­ment of fire­brand Shi’ite cleric Mo­q­tada al-Sadr, whose mili­tia waged a vi­o­lent cam­paign against the US mil­i­tary dur­ing its oc­cu­pa­tion of Iraq, but who has lately re­de­fined him­self as an op­po­nent of mil­i­tant sec­tar­i­an­ism.

Sadr ar­gues that the sec­tar­ian and eth­nic par­ties rep­re­sent­ing Iraq’s Shi’ites, Sun­nis and Kurds, dom­i­nant since the fall of Sad­dam Hus­sein in 2003, have abused their power and looted the state. The Sadrists have formed an un­likely al­liance with the Com­mu­nists and other sec­u­lar groups.

Zaidi’s shoe-throw­ing di­vided opin­ion in Iraq at the time.

A decade on, re­ac­tion to his can­di­dacy in the elec­tion this week­end has been sim­i­larly mixed.

“What he did was cor­rect: the coun­try was un­der oc­cu­pa­tion,” said Mo­han­nad Ibrahim.

Jour­nal­ist Haider Qassem, 41, dis­agreed. “He is not fit to be a can­di­date, he is not even fit to be a low-rank­ing civil ser­vant. He has no man­ners. A jour­nal­ist should be cul­tured. You can’t just throw shoes.” – Reuters

PHO­TO­GRAPH: NEL­SON ALMEIDA/AFP

STILL GOT IT: Ros­alia Pereira was crowned se­nior beauty queen

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