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Audience of Saudi women cool to Hughes' message (NO! I'm Shocked!)

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elehhhhna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:50 AM
Original message
Audience of Saudi women cool to Hughes' message (NO! I'm Shocked!)
Sept. 27, 2005, 9:04PM
Audience of Saudi women cool to Hughes' message
New U.S. envoy hears from crowd that not everyone desires to live like an American
New York Times

AFP/Getty Images
A handout photo shows Saudi King Abdullah, right, meeting with Karen Hughes, US undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, in the Red Sea port of Jeddah on Tuesday. Hughes is on a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia as part of a regional tour ending 29 September in Turkey.
JIDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - The audience 500 women covered in black at a Saudi university seemed an ideal place for Karen Hughes, a senior Bush administration official charged with spreading the American message in the Muslim world, to make her pitch.


But the response on Tuesday was not what she and her aides expected. When Hughes expressed the hope here that Saudi women would be able to drive and "fully participate in society" much as they do in her country, many challenged her.

"The general image of the Arab woman is that she isn't happy," one audience member said. "Well, we're all pretty happy." The roomful of students, faculty members and some professionals resounded with applause.


http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/headline/world...
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Clark2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:55 AM
Response to Original message
1. The Bush Administration is not very adept at understanding
other cultures.

I'm almost positive that 90 percent of these women ARE happy. They have a different culture and lifestyle than Western women and just cannot fathom why Western women think they're not happy with their lifestyle.

Should there be protection against these women from domestic violence? Yes. Should there be protection against these women from a former husband keeping their children from them? Yes. But being kept from driving and having to wear hijabs and quitting work after marriage just isn't a big deal to them in their culture.
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Botany Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:01 AM
Response to Original message
2. Karen Hughes .....
.... has exactly 0 none zip nada Islamics working in her commission
to reach out to Arabs and other Muslims.

Just like the response to Katrina, 9/11, and the Iraqi war "plans" everything
this group touches gets fucked up.

btw bush is never going to cross his Saudi paymasters.
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distantearlywarning Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:04 AM
Response to Original message
3. Sorry, but this is one place where I disagree with the Dems.
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 10:06 AM by distantearlywarning
Not all cultures and cultural things are ok.

Some things are just wrong, and they can't be justified by saying they're part of someone's culture.

And furthermore, the attitudes I see from many on the left about the Muslim women's rights issues are inconsistent - you know that if American fundies were forbidding women from driving cars, etc., you would all be jumping up and down and screaming about it and saying what bad people they were. What if I said to you , "but it's just part of their fundie culture, they want to be that way, and we're not allowed to criticize them!"

It bullshit. Sorry, but it is. Slavery was part of the "culture" of the South. Does that make it ok? No. And there were probably some slaves who were content being slaves. So what? It's still not right.

You people who think that the way the Muslim world treats women is ok need to really re-consider your viewpoints. This is not a liberal viewpoint (other than the cultural relativism thing, which is misplaced in this instance), and it is wrong and sexist to support this kind of thing in any way.

On Edit: I don't even know who Karen Hughes is, and maybe she's a Bush admin crony, but she's right in this instance. I know I'll get flamed for this, and it will piss you all off, but I don't care.
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Frances Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Where have you been?
I'm old enough to remember when my husband and I couldn't get a mortgage because he was in school and the bank wouldn't count my income because I might get pregnant and stop working. And by the way, since I was a high school teacher, I could NOT go back to work until my youngest child was 2 years old.

Who helped get women rights? DEMOCRATS! Republicans, including Republican women, made fun of "women's libbers."

So am I surprised that many Saudi women might not want "women's liberation"? No.

Do I think that Karen Hughes should have been surprised? No.

People are criticizing Hughes for not understanding the audience she was speaking to, not for saying that women should be allowed to drive. Of course, they should. And Democrats are the ones who helped women gain rights in this country in the 60s and 70s, rights that everyone takes for granted now.

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Ravenseye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:31 AM
Response to Reply #4
9. Exactly, it's the ongoing Bush Administration Ignorance
It's just one more example of the Bush administration simply not understanding a key part of the world.

Lets go back in time to fifty years ago in this country. If we were to gather up a group of women from a prestigous college to talk to them how would they react. What if we told them that they don't have to get married, that they can get a job. They can be lawyers, and doctors, and businesswomen. Most would have laughed at you. Even back then most women went to college to find a husband.

"The group of women Tuesday, picked by the university, represented the privileged elite of this Red Sea coastal city, known as one of the more liberal areas in the country."

Part of it also is who she talked to. A group of women from priviledged families, who probably all have drivers, aren't going to see the necessity of having to drive. Why should they. They get rides. They dont' feel the need to vote. Why should they. Their husband does, and really it's generally meaningless in their society.

Why not talk to a poor women, who has no family, and whose husband has died. She still has children to support, but can't drive to work, and it's hard to find a job because she's a woman.

How bout her? I bet she'd love to be able to drive.
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hughee99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:20 PM
Response to Reply #4
19. Damn straight...
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 12:20 PM by hughee99
Everyone knows that the 1st rule of making a political speech is to know your audience... and apparently you need to tell them exactly what they want to hear.

Sorry, but this issue is not about Democrats or Republicans or which party has control of "women's liberation". Our politicians give speeches every day, and we (or at least I) am most proud of them when speak the truth rather than pander to the crowd. I'm no Karen Hughes fan, but I have no issues with what she said.
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Spazito Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Preaching to other cultures by a representative of a country that
needs to look into it's own mirror will not change anything. The bush cabal supports the Saudis and everyone knows it so pretending to care about how the women are treated is hypocritical and the Saudi women know that very well as does every other country.

Trying to force one country's culture over the rest of the world as the US does, as long as they have national interests in those countries, is bound to fail as it should, imo.
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elehhhhna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. You make an excellent point, however--
imo we, particulliarly via the double dealing lying bogus Bush Administration, have no business bossing other countries around. Period. Let's focus on securing our own daughters' rights. This Country could not, did not, has not even passed an Equal Rights Amendment (remember that oldie from the 70's?).


If Karen gives a rip about foreign women and their rights, it's not the wealthy ones she chould be listening to(ha ha as if), anyway.
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distantearlywarning Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. That's absolutely true.
And I agree. I was irritated when I wrote my post and was focusing on our (progressive) reaction to Karen Hughes. However, I do (and did when I wrote it) think that this country is certainly hypocritical in criticizing other people in the area of human rights. I agree - she (and the US in general) should get the large log out of our own eye before focusing on the motes in our brother's eye.

That still doesn't make what she said wrong, however (just perhaps directionally misplaced). And I still stand behind what I said about using "culture" as a justification for oppression. Karen Hughes may be a hypocrite and unjustified in criticizing Saudi culture given the US's human rights record, but that doesn't mean that it's ok that Saudi women can't drive and have to be veiled in public.
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lectrobyte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #3
11. Who's this "you people" you are referring to? I sure don't see
the attitude that Saudi's treatment of women is OK from anyone on the left I can think of. Can you provide some evidence to support this rather inflammatory claim? If anything, the Republicans are the Saudi apologists for a lot of things. Remember those censored pages on the 911 report?
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lectrobyte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:44 AM
Response to Reply #3
12. Karen Hughes is a close friend/advisor/campain consultant for
G.W. Bush.
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Mizmoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
7. What Saudi women say in private and in public
are two different things. Would you speak out against people who had total control over your life?
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Ravenseye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:36 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. Which women you talk to is also key
Talking to a group of privileged women who all have rich husbands, chaufers, and never have to worry about putting food on the table about them having a right to drive, is like going into the Hamptons and telling Donald Trump's wife that she really should drive herself into the city and fight with traffic instead of taking the helicopter and then using a limo to get around the city.

She'd look at you like you were nuts.

That's who Karen Hughes talked to. The rich women. How typical of this administration.

Who they should have been talking to are the women who have no family, or whose husbands have died, or who were raped but couldn't prove anything because another man didn't witness the crime. Women who have children and no way to support themselves. Women who need to be able to drive to work to support themselvse and their children.

Those women she talked to probably meant what they said. But just because Melania Trump gets to ride in a limo and thinks it's unnecessary to be able to drive, doesn't mean that Sally Stickler in Cleveland who need a car to get to work feels the same way.
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maxsolomon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. neither the US nor the Sauds want that
what are you trying to do, start a CLASS WAR?
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Ravenseye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. I know. Shame on me right?
The Republicans are the ones that started the class war, we call them on it and they get all huffy in their mansions.

"The proles are complaining again? Have they no shame?"
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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:23 AM
Response to Original message
15. This is the equivalent of moron* actually speaking to real people
instead of the hand picked background searched repukes.

She got a dose of reality, and in morons* world, reality is not good.

She is and always be an out of touch spin doctor asshole with no real world credentials.

colossal racist failure*.
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Fla Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
16. The only thing here I object to is the assumption that these women spoke
for all women in the Middle East, or Saudi Arabia for that matter.

All you have to do is read further down in the article to get a clue;

"The group of women Tuesday, picked by the university, represented the privileged elite of this Red Sea coastal city, known as one of the more liberal areas in the country."

These priviledge women saying everything is just hunky-dory is pretty much like Babs saying the evacuees in the Astrodome really were much better of there, considering their circumstances.

I don't agree that we should use military might to change cultures, but certainly working through diplomatic and humanitarian effort we absolutely need to strive to improve the lot of women in the world.

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elehhhhna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. Yep. Ask Mimsie at the counrty club if things are okey dokey
for all women here in the US of A. If she's not too sloshed, you'll see two thunbs way way up.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
17. I'm not surprised. Much of the brain washing goes very deep.
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 12:06 PM by Cleita
I partly grew up in South America and my mother was Chilean. She was very comfortable with the fact that as long as she was a married woman she was fine. It didn't matter that she had no practically no rights should my father have decided to leave her, that she had few opportunities to find a good job, and that she had to beg my father for every dime he gave her.

She even said that the women had no business where men did their business. She had a whole litany of dos and don'ts that separated respectable women from whores. Tricking one's husband was an art form among the women to get more money from them that they laughed over tea telling their stories about how they did it.

So it's not surprising that maybe many Muslim women are content with their lot and might even fear change. I think old Karen has got her nerve trying to impose our culture on them anyway. Many ME women want to be more westernized, but more than you think prefer the traditional way.
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