Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Failure Of Nancy Pelosi

Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, while on a diplomatic visit to Syria, was photographed wearing a Hijab, the traditional head-scarf of Muslim women. The fact that she wore the traditional dress of a culture that she was visiting is not an issue, or at least it should not be. She did this previously in Israel, and no one had a problem with it. However, Israel is not Syria. Wearing a head covering in a holy site in Israel (which is the only place where she did so) is considered a sign of respect, and the failure of a woman to so would result in, at most, an occasional look of disapproval. In many Muslim countries, however, the Hijab is compulsory for women in public, period. Failure to wear one can get a woman arrested, raped, stoned to death, or even beheaded. Just a slight difference between the two. Furthermore, Israel is an ally of the United States, and her trip there had the approval of the US government. Syria, on the other hand, is an ally of a hostile country, Iran, and is also a potentially hostile country itself. It is responsible for the murder of Lebanese officials, of attempting to subvert the duly elected government of Lebanon, and of funding and supporting the actions of at least two terrorist organizations, Hamas, and Hezbollah. Pelosi is visiting in a manner designed to influence US foreign policy, even though she has no constitutional power or authority to do so.
The timing of this visit is also questionable. Iran, as you know, has recently taken 15 British sailors hostage. By visiting Iran’s ally Syria while the British sailors are in captivity, it has allowed the Iranians to use this as a political opportunity. They could (and have, I note) release the hostages in such a way as to make it look as if the release was due to Pelosi’s efforts. The Iranians will look magnanimous for releasing them, Bush and Blair, the leaders of the Western war against Islamo-Fascist Terrorism, will look weak, and Pelosi, one of the leaders of the anti-war left, will look strong.
But how does this make her a failure, you ask? Surely these victories will add to her power. Shouldn’t they be counted as successes? No.
One of Pelosi’s core beliefs, in fact, one of the core beliefs of the Democrat Party (or so they say) is the fight for equality, especially between men and women. Muslim countries are notorious for their failure to promote equality between the sexes. In many Middle Eastern countries, women are treated as little more than objects. If a woman is raped in one of these places, she is often considered at fault for tempting her attacker. This is one of the reasons for the traditional Muslim woman’s attire: to protect her from attack from those her partially exposed flesh might tempt; although all they are really protecting her from is their own complete lack of self control and inability to police their own male populations. The Hijab, and other traditional forms of female Muslim dress, are really little more than instruments for the subjugation of women in those countries.
When Jehan al-Sadat, an outspoken critic of traditional Islam’s treatment of women (who, it should be noted, now lives in the west for her own safety, and who would be considered a raging feminist by Muslim standards) visited Saudi Arabia, she did so alone (an unescorted woman in public is a big Muslim no-no), and she wore modern clothing. This was a big deal, and it got her a lot of attention from Islamic religious leaders. Because of her bravery, she was envied and idolized by Saudi women. Although I have never personally visited the country, I have heard from people who have that both Saudi men and women will tell you to dress as western as possible, in the hope that the more people who do so, the more acceptable it will become. Nancy Pelosi had the opportunity to do something truly great for the people of the Middle East. She could have pointedly worn modern clothing, and eschewed the Hijab. She could have sent a signal to the women of the Muslim world by saying “I stand with you and your desire for equality. I support my sisters around the world in their efforts to control their own destiny.” Instead, she chose to show respect for a Muslim tradition of female suppression and inferiority, all for the sake of scoring a few cheap political points back home.

I see I'm not alone in my thinking: Has Pelosi Gone Bonkers?

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