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પ્રાચીન સંસ્કૃતિના આધારલેખો પગરખાં વિષેના ઘણા સંદર્ભો દર્શાવે છે. અસંખ્ય પુરાવાઓ એ સાબિત કરી આપે છે કે શા માટે અને કેવી રીતે આપણા પૂર્વકાલીન પૂર્વજોએ હાલમાં વપરાતાં પગરખાં જેવા વૈકલ્પિક ઉપાયો જેવા કે જાડાં અને મોટાં પાંદડાં અથવા મરેલાં પ્રાણીઓનાં ચામડાં પગતળિયે લપેટવાં કે પછી લાકડાની પાદુકાઓ (ચાખડીઓ)પહેરવી વગેરે પ્રયોજ્યા હતા. આ ઉપાયો માટેનાં કારણો આજના જેવાં એ જ હતાં કે આશ્રય અને ખોરાક માટે ભટકતું જીવન ગાળતા આપણા આદિ માનવો પોતાનાં પગનાં તળિયાંનું અણીદાર પથ્થરો, કાંટાઓ, કાદવકીચડ કે બળબળતી રેતીથી રક્ષણ કરી શકે.
તાજેતરમાં પગરખાંના ઉપભોગે નોંધપાત્ર પ્રગતિ કરી છે અને તેનો અસ્ત્ર (મિસાઈલ)તરીકે તથા વિરોધ પ્રદર્શિત કરવાના પ્રતીક તરીકે ઉપયોગ થવા માંડ્યો છે! અમેરિકી પ્રમુખ મિ. જ્યોર્જ બુશ જ્યારે ઈરાકના વડા પ્રધાન મિ. નૂરી અલ-માલિકી સાથે ડિસેમ્બર ૦૮, ૨૦૦૮ ના દિવસે બગદાદમાં પ્રેસ કોન્ફરન્સને સંબોધી રહ્યા હતા,ત્યારે અચાનક મુન્તઝર અલ-ઝૈદી નામના પત્રકારે તેમના તરફ તેના જોડા ફેંક્યા હતા. વળી એ જ ઘટના પછી, ફેબ્રુઆરી ૦૩, ૨૦૦૯ના રોજ એક વિરોધ પ્રદર્શનકારી (નામ જાણવા મળ્યું નથી)એ ચીનના વડાપ્રધાન મિ. વેન જિઆબો (Wen Jiabao)ને કેમ્બ્રીજ યુનિવર્સિટી (યુ..કે.)માં ગાળો ભાંડી હતી અને તેમના તરફ પગરખું પણ ફેંક્યું હતું.
Records of ancient civilizations indicate many references to shoes. Plenty of evidences are there to prove how and why our primitive ancestors had started using modern shoe-like optional means such as wrapping larger and thicker leaves and skins of dead animals to bottom of their feet and also using wooden sandals for protection from pointed stones, thorns, mud and burning sands while roaming in search of food and shelter.
Utility of shoes has recently progressed excessively and its use as a weapon (missile) and sign of protest has started! An Iraqi journalist named Muntazer al-Zaidi hurled his shoes all of a sudden at US President Mr. George W. Bush during a Joint Press Conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Mr. Nouri al-Maliki at Baghdad on December 08, 2008 and subsequently on February 03, 2009 a protester(whose name could not be traced out) also hurled abuse and then a shoe at China’s Premier Mr. Wen Jiabao at Cambridge University (U.K.).
Above two episodes excited the people of the world with controversial feelings of both fun and disliking. Most of them have enjoyed much with their bias towards victimized fellows and their foreign policies. But a very few have condemned the events on disciplinary arguments that a guest should not be insulted with such a rude behavior.
My attempt here is to analyze and discuss some root causes of both the unfair happenings in a condensed way. Before I proceed on, I would like to quote below the utterances of both so-called heroes while hurling shoes to their targets just to understand how and why they re-acted so in public.
While throwing shoes one after another to Mr. Bush who was the most powerful politician in the world and responsible for imposing two wars on the world, Zaidi had said, “This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, d**! This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq”. Mr. Bush was talking about an American security agreement and a strategy framework agreement between two countries. And, a Protester (most probably a Tibetan and/or an activist of Human Rights) against the Chinese Premier while throwing his one shoe towards stage of auditorium had addressed him as a ‘dictator’ and shouted loudly in fit of anger, ‘How can this university prostitute itself with this dictator and how can you listen to him unchallenged?’ Mr. Wen was delivering a speech on the global economy.
It cannot be negated that there were some political mistakes from the part of big-headed countries. Mr. Bush had many times accepted his blunder of attacking Iraq. Anti-war group ‘Code Pink’ which is mainly lead by women had arranged demonstration outside the White House in support of Zaidi’s action that he had expressed the sentiments of millions of people who are angry at George Bush’s policies. The protestors threw shoes at a large puppet looking like Mr. Bush turn by turn for hours and the U.S. Secret Service stood by during the protest; however there were no conflicts with authorities and no arrests were made. Similarly, Mr. Wen Jiabao was on a five nation ‘Confidence Tour’ to Europe and at his last stop in U.K. for three days the protestors followed him to demonstrate over human rights and Chinese policy in Tibet.
My good Readers should not misunderstand that the non-disciplinary actions of Mr. Zaidi in Iraq and the Protestor at Cambridge are justified or approved in this Article. It is true that any citizen of any country should not treat a guest rudely and in an insulting manner. Such misbehaviors become as the shame to a Host country and its security system. It is the responsibility of a host country to protect the guest both physically and mentally.
Protestors may adopt many non-violent measures such as tying black ribbons on arms, waving black flags, holding posters or banners in hands and uttering slogans in civilized manner. Same way, Media people and News Reporters must observe the ethics of Journalism. They may ask questions politely with consent of stage management, but they should not behave in such a manner that they might not like happen so with own Heads or delegates of their country elsewhere.
Above two episodes of shoe-hurling teach many lessons to the nations of the world. Any nation should not interfere into the domestic (internal) problems of other countries. Sovereignty is the soul of any nation and in any circumstances, any other country, individually or jointly, has no right to challenge it. UN proved to be weak in preventing wars due to the only reason that its status remained like a puppet against harsh behaviors of super-power nations. It is the right time now to change the entire constitution of UN with the prime change of cutting off the Veto Power specially favored to super power nations.
In both Afghanistan and Iraq wars, millions of civilians were killed which was totally against humanity and also the breach of Geneva International treaties on the laws of war. Oil wells were set to fire with the aim of weakening economy of respective countries ignoring the value of natural resources useful to mankind. Agricultural land was made barren with tons of massive bombardment. Many historical and religious properties were damaged. Most horrified matter was that the national integrity of those unfortunate countries was harmed and the people were divided in sects and groups with unfair diplomatic incitements to one or the other group or sect.
Now, turning to Tibetan issue, we can see that China considers Tibet as part of its territory and Tibetans demand full autonomy. Tibet’s struggle is spread over last 50 years and during this period its people have suffered a lot. Tibetans are afraid of losing their identity under the Chinese Rule. They people think that their culture and rich religious heritage cannot remain safe under China. On the other hand, it is the naked truth that the daily violence carried out by Chinese authorities is very common in Tibet. Constant violations of human rights are ignored by UN and the rest world.
Breach of Human Rights, either affecting to a mass or an individual, should always be criticized. How sad it is that Zaidi, in spite of being a citizen of Iraq, is badly treated during and after his arrest by Iraqi Government itself. Some authentic sources have brought the truth open that when Zaidi was arrested and being taken to jail, he was subjected to violence throughout the car journey. His ribs have been broken and his left eye was hit with a gun. It is reported that he is passing through the risk of losing his eye sight for ever.
No doubt, violation of a public order and law is a punishable crime, but the arrested person is simply a detainee until charged with a specific crime. Brutality towards a detainee, an under-trial or even the convict is the violation of Human Rights. Now, the question – “Who will punish those officers?” will remain un-answered until we hear of any actions taken by Iraqi Government.
Summing up, it is possible that the shoes thrown at Mr. Bush and Mr. Wen may give a lesson to all those rulers who are cruel and have dictatorial attitude.