It's Recess-time Somewhere

Proud Member of the Reality-Based Sandbox

September 28, 2005

Habit #5 of Highly Effective People

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

You've got to hand it to Karen Hughes. She's got a crappy-ass and nearly impossible job. Sweeping up the elephant crap before the cirucs is even over isn't much fun or very easy, especially if the elephants and all their handlers have a roaring case of the hershey squirts.

The audience - 500 women covered in black at a Saudi university -
seemed an ideal place for Karen P. 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.

Don't you think Ms. Hughes could study up a wee bit on Mid Eastern culture before she goes bounding over there yip-yapping about how nice it is to be an American an all the "freedoms" that come with it?

"The general image of the Arab woman is that she isn't happy," one
audience member said. "Well, we're all pretty happy."


The administration's efforts to publicize American ideals in the
Muslim world have often run into such resistance.


Many in this region say they resent the American assumption that,
given the chance, everyone would live like Americans.


"There is more male chauvinism in my profession in Europe and America
than in my country," said Dr. Siddiqa Kamal, an obstetrician and
gynecologist who runs her own hospital.


Like some of her friends, Ms. Sabbagh said Westerners failed to
appreciate the advantages of wearing the traditional black head-to-foot
covering known as an abaya.

"I love my abaya," she explained. "It's convenient and it can be very fashionable."

Tough crowd, huh?