Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Wench Who Wrecked a Thousand Ships

Karen Hughes has exhibited her diplomatic creditials as a tittering nitwit with a tin ear on an ideological mission. One wonders if she is the new Anne Burford in charge of the diplomatic super clean-up fund. Just as was the case for Reagan's EPA, Bush has named a floozie to head an initiative which he is determined to sink.

Blogger Spinx has a post up on Egyptian intellectual reaction to Hughes--inconsequential.

Corine Lesnes, LeMonde's Washington correspondent, relays the Arab perception of her--a clueless, bigoted and blinkered lightweight.

Washington struggles to improve its image in the Muslim and Arab World.

According to accounts in the press, she was not shy in displaying her amazement. What? Everyone doesn’t want to live like an American? During her first trip abroad ad the United States Image Ambassador, Karen Hughes had to face up to a new dimension in her mission.

Not only is attraction for America on the wane because of the war in Iraq, as Turkish students reminded her. The American dream and the civilization of the automobile doesn’t not attract all Saudi women either, despite the fact that they do not have the right to drive.

In Ankara, the last stop of her three-nation visit, the Deputy Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy was very directly challenged. As long as the war in Iraq continues, America cannot improve its image, said one association official during one encounter--and this was cited by the Associated Press. I am not anti-American but I am anti-war and anti-violence, said another. A third questioned the current philosophy behind US diplomacy: It is impossible to export freedom and democracy from one country to another.

At each encounter, Mrs. Hughes, who is close to President George Bush, answered by explaining that “no one likes war” but that her country believes that it is “sometimes necessary.” At each stop, she was hit with questions about Guantánamo, Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Palestine…. A reported published on Wednesday 28 September in Washington by a committee of public diplomacy advisors headed by Colin Powell’s former departmental secretary, examines the phenomenon: America is less of a ray of hope than a dangerous force which must be resisted. This perception, repeated in the media and on the Internet, diminishes our capacity to promote freedom, democracy and personal dignity.

In Jeddah, the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mrs. Hughes was greeted at Dar al-Hekma University by five hundred female students dressed in black from head to toe. Members of the audience asked Americans to rethink their prejudices. The global perception of the Arab woman is that she is unhappy, said one student, cited by the New York Times. Well, we happen to be ecstatically happy. Another member of the audience, a professor, explained that it is not because women don’t have the right to vote or to drive doesn’t mean that they are in prison. We have never been forbidden to talk to the opposite sex. A women physician said she had no desire to drive.

Mrs. Hughes, 48, who likes to present herself as a typical mother with traditional American values, did not fail to stun her audience with her replies. Personally, she said, driving a car represents an important part of my freedom. The diplomat did not add, however, that Americans were recently chipping away at their freedom by driving less to reduce their consumption of gasoline as requested by the authorities. At the conclusion of the meeting, an Architecture student, veiled from head to toe, ventured to say: We can change, we will change but we don’t need someone to impose it on us from the outside.


Anonymous badgervan said...

Please understand that Hughes does not speak for the majority of Americans. This administration continues to dig us into a deeper and deeper hole with the rest of the world. About 60% of us are more than fed up with bush and his disciples.
Change is coming to our government, beginning in November of 2006. Bear with us.
As a Navy vet, I have never been more ashamed of and disappointed in my country's "leaders". We will straighten things out at the polls. Until then, realize that bush/cheney/rove do not speak for most of us. We were lied to also.

11:58 PM  
Blogger Postman said...

My experience. There is aoften a dislike for America, but not Americans.

2:35 PM  
Blogger markfromireland said...

Most Americans don't realise what's been done and continues to be done in their name. So while I agree with postman I'll qualify it what he says slightly in my experience there's great admiration for American as country, great friendliness towards Americans as people, and hatred and contempt for what the American government does.

5:47 PM  
Blogger programmer craig said...

Oh put a sock in it already. Nur called Karen Hughes a bigot, and then you "we LOVE Americans, we just HATE your government" clowns expect us American Idiots to buy that tired old line about how much you freaking like us?

Please. Tell it to somebody who cares.

Look, here is how it's done:

I fucking HATE the French govermnet! I also HATE the French people.

See? Telling the truth is easy. Europeans should try it sometimes, eh?

1:35 AM  
Blogger Gaianne said...

Even allowing for voter suppression and voter fraud, including hacked electronic-voting machines in Florida and Ohio (we call it ether-voting, because that is where your vote goes), nevertheless at least 45 % of American voters chose to re-select Bush in the fall of 2004. This rather leaves us without a lot excuses. Naturally, I hate the guy myself, but it now becomes my problem to convince people of that.

That said, al-Cubical, it is good to catch your story of how the Bush regime conducts its diplomacy in the world. Nor is it a bad thing: The sooner people figure out that the American government is truly nuts--in the same way that the German Nazis of the last century were nuts--the better off we will be. Americans may feel some pain as a result of the measures that will need to be taken against this government, but putting off the reckoning can only make matters worse.

As to why the Bush people chose a bigotted nitwit like Hughes, we might as well admit straight out that no rational explanation is possible. Either they actually think she is doing a good job, or else openly destroying international good will is what they are trying for. Neither makes sense, nor can make sense.

While it would be nice to think that Americans will vote a change in 2006 as badgervan proposes, it is actually unlikely. America has only two functioning political parties, and although there are anti-war elementas in each, these elements remain suppressed, and both parties remain unequivocally pro-war.

So far American grumbling amounts to the wish that the war be conducted more COMPETENTLY. A growing peace movement does exist, but the idea that the war itself is wrong or a mistake has yet to capture the American imagination.

1:44 AM  

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