The Iraqi man who threw his shoes at President Bush

STORY: This is the moment Iraqi journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi hurled his shoes at President George W. Bush during a news conference in Baghdad.

It was December 14, 2008, nearly six years after U.S.-led forces invaded Iraq.

Al-Zaidi's act was meant to show his anger at the corruption and chaos that mired his country following the invasion.

Now, looking back at the footage almost 15 years later, he is still furious.

“This scene stands as proof that one day a simple person was capable of saying no to that arrogant person with all his power, tyranny, arms, media, money and authority, and to say that you (Bush) were wrong, you killed many people and changed the fate of several countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria and the whole region.”

In the Arab world, throwing shoes at someone is considered a deep insult.

Bush, standing next to the then Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, ducked to avoid the footwear.

The U.S. president had been criticized across the Middle East for his decision to oust Saddam Hussein, an action launched based on faulty U.S. intelligence that the Iraqi leader had amassed weapons of mass destruction.

Al-Zaidi ended up serving six months in prison for assaulting a visiting head of state.

He says he has never regretted throwing his shoes at Bush.

“When I was released I didn’t feel any different. Yes, of course I missed my personal freedom, a breath of fresh air, and the ability to live life normally. But I was released from a prison to a bigger prison; like for example when they move you from solitary confinement to a cell with 20 inmates, I had been moved to a bigger cell with 30 million people, and this is why I was in grief.”

Al-Zaidi also blames Washington for installing a political elite that plundered Iraq's wealth.

20 years after the invasion, he says the same corrupt elite continues to ruin the nation.

“The U.S. introduced a waste recycling plant to Iraq. And this plant produced an elite that keeps circulating, an unhealthy circulation of waste. / The same people who entered 20 years ago with the occupier are still ruling despite the failures and the corruption. The U.S. knows quite well that it brought pseudo politicians.”

Hoping to make a difference, he ran for an Iraqi parliament seat in 2018.

He failed to win the election, but that has not stopped him from opposing what he sees as a corrupt political class.

“I didn't win the election and this is normal amid the presence of those forgers but that doesn’t make me less of an opposition to this corrupt elite in Iraq. So, I stayed in Iraq and kept opposing using the old classical way of protests.”