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

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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.

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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).

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