Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Travel Tuesday: Shoes on a wire--different places, different meanings

I took this shot in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, back in 2013. This is one of the many wires in the city festooned with shoes. A local explained to me that the university students throw shoes up there in celebration of the end of term.

At least that's what it means in Slovenia. In the United States, shoes hanging on a wire is a common sign that a drug dealer operates on that street.

In the Arab world, shoes on a wire mean something absolutely different. The sole of the shoe is dirty and it's considered rude to sit in a way that shows the sole, or to touch someone with it. That's why after the fall of Baghdad we saw those pictures of Iraqis slapping statues of Saddam Hussein with their shoes. In the West Bank, I saw shoes hanging on wires over many streets. They had been thrown there by Palestinians in order to insult the Israeli patrols as they walked under them.

I suppose that other countries have their own meanings. Can you name any I've missed?

1 comment:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I like the Arab's reason for hanging shoes.

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.