Muslim Women Challenge Karen Hughes
Bush recently appointed his right hand woman, Karen Hughes, as the Undersecretary of State. Her job is to improve America's image overseas even though she has no diplomatic training. So far, she has failed miserably. You would think the administration would know better than to send Hughes abroad with the same talking points Bush uses in front of carefully selected American audiences. Speaking to a group of mostly female Indonesian Muslim students on Friday, she said:
"After all he [Saddam Hussein] had used weapons of mass destruction against his own people like he murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent people using poison gas against them. After September 11, the leaders of America had to look at the threat of the world in a very different way ... I think you have to understand the horror and the shocks that Americans went through."
She's used the same line in past meetings with women in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey. A few typical responses:
"War makes the rights of women completely erased and poverty comes after war -- and women pay the price."
"This war is really, really bringing your positive efforts to the level of zero," said Hidayet Sefkatli Tuksal, an activist with Istanbul's Women's Forum.
These meetings aren't getting much press, especially on television. It will be interesting to see if the administration changes its strategy or gives up altogether. Here are a few articles:
Indonesians Challenge US Envoy in Lively Exchange - Reuters
U.S. goodwill envoy Karen Hughes got a earful from a group of mostly female Indonesian Muslim students on Friday, who expressed anger at the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and attacked Washington's foreign policies.
Hughes Saw but Couldn't Conquer - Arab News
Last month Ms. Karen Hughes, US undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, visited Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. It was her first visit to Muslim countries and her first venture into one of the most volatile regions in the world. She had a chance to meet and listen to veiled and unveiled Muslim women, and Muslim women had an opportunity to air their thoughts and feelings and express their complaints and views on a number of hot, thorny issues to the senior American official entrusted with the task of promoting the values and improving the image of her country in the world.
Karen Hughes Proselytizing: Behind the Veil and Beyond the Hijab - Al-Jazeerah.com
America's circus diplomacy has arrived in the Middle East. The lady from Texas, grand emissary of the American Sultanate headed by Bush, has come to change the hearts and minds of people in the eastern caliphates, particularly those that hide behind the veils and beneath the scarves of Muslim women. Imagine: Karen Hughes proselytizing those daughters of the Qur’an… and with a Southern televangelical accent no less!
Activists grill Karen Hughes on war in Iraq - Washington Post
A group of Turkish female activists confronted Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes on Wednesday with heated complaints about the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, turning a session designed to highlight the empowerment of women into a raw display of anger at U.S. policy in the region. "This war is really, really bringing your positive efforts to the level of zero," said Hidayet Sefkatli Tuksal, an activist with the Capital City Women's Forum. She said it is difficult to talk about cooperation between women in the United States and Turkey as long as Iraq is under occupation.