Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Soccer Mom in the Middle East

On the Media had a great piece on how The Messenger is the Message. The story points out that aside from what the government propagandists say, it's really a country's actions, along with the image of its leader who carries out those actions, that dictates how we are viewed.
Karen Huges, Bush's latest State Department Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy, recently traveled to the Middle East to peddle the administration's image of America as the "bringers of democracy"... Of course, using a white, Texas soccer mom to sell the idea to middle eastern women in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey may seem like craziness to us, but to the Bush administration what possible better representation of America could there be?
Well, for starters, how about a Muslim-American... someone who may actually have lived in the Middle East; someone who speaks the language, understands their customs, concerns and priorities yet can speak to the benefits of the American social and political system.
Nah, that would be too complicated -- come'on: democracy and western values sell themselves right?
On top of picking Huges, consider our president is threatening a veto on a bill that would publicly renounce the use of torture. When you put the picture together you can at least understand why Arabs, Persians and others look at the disconnect between our message and actions and ask "is this guy serious?"
Until someone in this administration pulls the rose-colored glasses off of our president (and gives him a brain transplant) we'll never make real progress against anti-Americanism.

1 comment:

Intellectual Insurgent said...

Because Americans are so naive when it comes to government propaganda, the US government thinks that others in the world will be equally guillible, but that is not the case. People from countries with governments that tell constant absurdities know that they should be on high alert when a government mouthpiece starts moving. And they are much more discerning.

Also, Karen Hughes' manifest destiny, white man's burden approach is so insulting to the Semitic and Muslim Worlds, they will never buy that b.s. There is a great book about the feminist movement in Egypt that started as part of the nationalist movement in the early 1900's. A group of feminists from the U.S. went to Egypt to "liberate" the women there and were shocked to find a well-established feminist movement already in place. The Egyptian women told them to get lost, that Egyptian feminism had its own context and that they didn't need American women telling them how to handle their affairs. Karen Hughes is repeating this episode 100 years later.

Those who do not learn from history...