tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Global shortages threaten Shoe Intifada

Last month in Montreal, former US president George W. Bush survived another volley of missiles, as over a thousand demonstrators protested his $100,000-speaking engagement at the Queen Elizabeth hotel by throwing their shoes at or at least near him. The protesters bravely sacrificed their precious footwear to demean Mr Bush, in spite of the looming annual Quebec apocalypse known as hiver.

While the protest was important in that it kept Dubya from sneaking into Canada under the radar to collect a fat cheque from the Montreal Chamber of Commerce for speaking candidly about how he was proud of starting two wars against the Islamic world, the Tuque Souq couldn't help but notice that the actual volume of ammunition in the protesters' arsenal was noticeably less than at last winter's anti-Bush, shoe-throwing demonstration in Montreal.

This leads us to ask a critical and obviously underasked question of one of our most precious global resources: Has the world of protesting reached Peak Shoe?

As this blog has covered obsessively, the Shoe Intifada has leathered its way from a small press conference in Baghdad last December into a globally laced anti-war movement.

Tens of thousands, maybe billions, of shoes have flown, in opposition to everything from the global economic crisis to transit-fare hikes. But have we wantonly tapped out a resource that is not as renewable as we thought? Or perhaps is some conspiratorial counter movement trying to untie those shoes, to trip up the movement?

This man may know: A 48-year-old Egyptian man was recently released from prison after serving a year for stealing $1500-worth of shoes from a mosque in Qatar. While he committed his crime before the Shoe Intifada began, perhaps his conspirators knew that a worldwide shoe-throwing movement would start, and he was hoarding shoes for future sale on the black market.

Or this man: An amputee in Belgium was recently picked up for stealing only a left shoe from a store in the town of Maldegem. Is there a connection between him, shoes, and the Left?

If there is a conspiracy afoot to deplete protesters of their sole ammunition, the Tuque Souq is on the trail. Stay tuned.

[Keep current on all the shoe throwing at the Tuque Souq's Shoe Intifada bureau.]

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