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View Full Version : Michell Obama - Catching Flak For Not Veiling in Saudi


rgbrock1
28th Jan 2015, 15:54
Seems that Mrs. Obama was caught out in Saudi Arabia not being veiled, for which she is catching a lot of flak. (From the usual suspects of course.)

How do you feel about this, should she have been veiled?

Although I personally cannot stand either her or her husband, I think she made the right choice in this instance.

Capetonian
28th Jan 2015, 16:03
I think she's wrong.

If she goes to a country that requires women to be veiled, she should fit in. It's grossly insulting to her hosts, particularly under the circumstances, not to do so, as much as would be drinking alcohol in public.

If she feels so strongly about not wearing a veil, the correct action would be not to have gone there.

I should imagine Al-Burak may have had a stern word with her afterwards.

(I also can't stand either of them, for the record.)

West Coast
28th Jan 2015, 16:11
Yup, when in Rome....

Flash2001
28th Jan 2015, 16:16
Well, the Saudis tried to export their values when they requested that the king's aircraft never be under the control of a female ATC in the US. I wonder if the try the same on the British?

After an excellent landing etc...

dazdaz1
28th Jan 2015, 16:19
She's lucky not to be kneeling on a plastic sheet on the ground:eek:

Metro man
28th Jan 2015, 16:24
The Queen covered up when she visited Saudi Arabia, she is always careful to observe local etiquette. However I admire Michelle for standing up for women's rights in a country where they can't even drive a car or travel without an escort.

I wonder if she would have veiled up if the Saudis still had the U.S. by the balls over oil supplies. All that shale has its benefits.;)

ExXB
28th Jan 2015, 16:25
Well, would the Saudi King expect his wife to be veiled if they were in Washington? And would anyone object if she was? (Leaving old, grumpy, white males aside)

I don't think this is a 'when in Rome' situation at all.

oldchina
28th Jan 2015, 16:34
... trying to follow someone else's culture because it's "expected". A westerner is a westerner, an Asian an Asian. We don't expect Arabs to remove their headgear in London. Better be a true representative of your own culture than trying to copy others.

obgraham
28th Jan 2015, 16:37
The way I read it, it was a deliberate decision. She wore a long loose outfit, in deference to the Saudi's not liking anything that reveals that the wearer is indeed female. She wore no head cover, to make a point that women should not be cowed into symbolic acts at the whim of their male masters.

Well done, I say. Good on her.

I also noted that a number of the Saudi perverts (errr.."Princes") declined to shake hands on her arrival.

dazdaz1
28th Jan 2015, 16:40
Metroman...... " I admire Michelle for standing up for women's rights in a country where they can't even drive a car"

Not being a lover of the Saudi system of rule, they do get brownie points from me with the lady drivers. I imagine Princes and leading members of the Saudi Royal family have observed the female skills while being chauffeured around the Capital.

I'll get my coat

fa2fi
28th Jan 2015, 16:43
People are complaining about MO's head is not covered in a country which recently beheaded a woman in public having to be held down whilst screaming 'I did not kill' just before having two blows to the neck? It's a funny old world.

ONE GREEN AND HOPING
28th Jan 2015, 16:45
I recall when as a guest at a Saudi house in the 1960s, our host explained that the ancient custom of veiling their women-folk stemmed from the 'bad old days', when intertribal wife stealing and hostage taking was more commonplace. An element of protection for a pretty woman, and face-saving for a father or husband if she was ugly. He was a humourous fellow, so there maybe have been a degree of exaggeration in there somehow. Also I remember listening to the radio in Dubai a long time later, when it was suggested that the custom of taking more than wife, was originally intended as an act of kindness which in a close knit society worked as a means of supporting a widow and her children. ( Don't think an upper limit was mentioned )

Capetonian
28th Jan 2015, 16:49
A westerner is a westerner, an Asian an Asian. We don't expect Arabs to remove their headgear in London.It's got nothing to do with 'westerners', 'Asians', and 'Arabs'.

It's a religious thing, Not all Arabs are Moslem and not all Moslems are Arabs. I don't go to places where I don't agree with their customs.

As Al-Burak Obama's wife, even if he is POTUSA, I imagine she has the right to make the same choice. I maintain that she shouldn't have gone there.

I have spent some time in Saudi Arabia and was fortunate and privileged to be invited into the homes of a couple of Saudi families where I was received with the utmost of hospitality. Whatever their government's polices may be, I have great respect for the people.

Exascot
28th Jan 2015, 17:01
Having had the misfortune to have to operate in this particular flea pit far too many times if I wrote my views here I would be banned for life on this forum. Hi Slasher how is the weather?

Effluent Man
28th Jan 2015, 17:11
Well done Michelle!

oldchina
28th Jan 2015, 17:43
"It's a religious thing"

Indeed. As far as I know M.Obama is not a Muslim.
Take the example of Malaysia: the Malay girls mostly wear the headscarf but the Chinese, Eurasian and Indian girls do not. They are not expected to and would be silly if they did.

vulcanised
28th Jan 2015, 17:44
All part of the arrogance and ignorance which the Obamas seem to share.

toffeez
28th Jan 2015, 17:47
If a young Pacific island girl were to walk around bare breasted where I live, would I be offended?
No.
Case closed.

eticket
28th Jan 2015, 18:26
According to the Telegraph Condoleezza Rice didn't wear one on the same visit.

They also say that Laura Bush (2006) and Hillary Clinton (2011) didn't wear one when they visited the country. However Mrs Obama did wear one in Indonesia (2010).

ExXB
28th Jan 2015, 18:58
Curious where the 'flak' is coming from. Or is it just our journalist 'friends' looking to create news, where non exists.

As Basil has pointed out it is likely that the flunkies consulted amongst themselves, and agreed the protocol for their political leaders well in advance.

Let's not forget that many religions and sects thereof require the covering of the head/hair in certain circumstances.

obgraham
28th Jan 2015, 19:36
This was no religious occasion. (Except to those who think passing on the governance to the next senile brother is religiously deigned.)

It was heading over to meet the new guy in charge.

Flash2001
28th Jan 2015, 20:55
I do remember reading a book by a British girl who lived in Biskra in the thirties. She enjoyed being veiled and silent as it saved her from being obliged to participate in the inane dinner table conversation.

After an excellent landing etc...

exgroundcrew
28th Jan 2015, 22:27
Back in the early 1960s I was in Bahrain (RAF Muharraq) and one day walking through the main town I noticed all the women in full Purdah had disappeared and only the "westernized" women where seen. I assumed that it was a special religious day that kept the women indoors, I asked a local shopkeeper if this was the case and he just laughed at me and said look in the Port, there were two USA warship. You Brits have no money but these Yanks have plenty, so no Purdah at the moment, was his response!

Seldomfitforpurpose
28th Jan 2015, 22:44
You have to wonder, if any other female goes to Saudi and refuses to cover up she would get a massive round of applause but MO does it and the usual suspects................:rolleyes:

ExSp33db1rd
28th Jan 2015, 23:15
Perhaps better if they'd made her wear the full Burkha thing ! Then she'd have been totally invisible.

ExXB
29th Jan 2015, 07:06
Angela Merkil was there, uncovered, not so long ago. But nobody noticed.

Bit of a tempest in a teapot.

Vercingetorix
29th Jan 2015, 08:11
exgroundcrew

:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

Worrals in the wilds
29th Jan 2015, 08:55
Well, the Saudis tried to export their values when they requested that the king's aircraft never be under the control of a female ATC in the US. How did that work out for them? Did they comply, or tell them Where To Go?
As for Michelle, I'm in two minds. Part of me says good on her for making a point (though it seems various female politicians (which she isn't) have already done so), but the other part thinks it would have been good manners to fit in with local dress standards.
Let's not forget that many religions and sects thereof require the covering of the head/hair in certain circumstances. IIRC it's still expected that women meeting the Pope will wear black and cover their hair (unless they're a Catholic Queen, then they should wear white :8).
http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/72741000/jpg/_72741451_queen_popejp_ap.jpg
(EDIT: I just looked it up and apparently it's no longer mandatory).
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Farrell
29th Jan 2015, 13:44
If she goes to a country that requires women to be veiled, she should fit in.

She, or any other non-Muslim woman is not required to wear a veil or cover her face in Saudi Arabia.

Media-fed hype.

cockney steve
29th Jan 2015, 17:42
Mrs Kwin to old goat. "For chrissake don't drop dead now, or I'll get the blame. Sit down before you fall down"

Lonewolf_50
29th Jan 2015, 17:59
I am not Mrs Obama's biggest fan, but I am certain that she is getting criticized simply for breathing air on this matter. FFS, I think she and her team did the best they could, and she carried if of with some grace and poise. She's our First Lady, and while I am no fan of the Saudis either, they are an ally and they pump a lot of crude, so our nation has to be nice to them. :p

Fork me, some folks just aren't happy unless they have something to gripe about.

rgbrock1
29th Jan 2015, 18:10
LW50:

How the hell did you manage to jump from the R&N thread, about AF447, to this thread in milliseconds? The mind boggles. :}:E

Lonewolf_50
29th Jan 2015, 19:38
I have no idea, but I suspect it has to do with how time tags and phantom threads occur in the Magical Land of PPRuNe: "It's a feature, not a bug!" :}

funfly
29th Jan 2015, 19:59
I am one of those who bangs on about people in this country should respect our laws and customs.

I have to agree that when visiting another country their customs should also be respected.

Lonewolf_50
29th Jan 2015, 20:37
In our country, sec def Rumsfeld was subject of a law suit brought by a female USAF officer who was assigned to her duty station in Saudi and the issue of "Why isn't she wearing an abaya" came up.

I think you'll find links to Martha_McSally.

Rummy had to back down.
IMO, he should have let it get to where the service member lawyered up.
She's now a member of Congress.
A few tidbits on policy versus how you treat your own people:
General Tommy Franks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Franks), then commander of the United States Central Command (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Central_Command) (USCENTCOM), announced in 2002 that U.S. military servicewomen would no longer be required to wear the abaya, although they would be "encouraged" to do so as a show of respect for local customs. Commenting on the change, Central Command spokesman, Colonel Rick Thomas, said it was not made because of McSally's lawsuit, but had already been "under review" before the lawsuit was filed. News reports noted that McSally had been fighting for a
change in the policy for seven years, and had filed the lawsuit after she had been threatened with a court martial (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Court_martial) if she did not comply and wear the abaya.
IIRC, there had been a uniform mod for some years in that area due to us accommodating the host nation.

I'll let you decide who you think was right.

mikedreamer787
30th Jan 2015, 03:47
Couldn't give a rats about Obummer and his missus.
However if local custom in the host country demands
covering up one's moosh or even dancing on 2 hands
doing the hokey-pokey then just do it and avoid the
problems.

obgraham
30th Jan 2015, 06:35
I think when the local customs are 700 years behind the times we can dispense with the "just do it" bit.

mikedreamer787
30th Jan 2015, 07:21
That's how wars start.

probes
30th Jan 2015, 07:39
I have to agree that when visiting another country their customs should also be respected.
so would I, but, on the other hand - no-one expects them to wear the trendy brands that are 'a norm' here (ok, US), when they come?

hoofie
30th Jan 2015, 07:49
I lived in Saudi for 3 years in the nineties. So did my English wife [although she wasn't my wife then we had very fervent discussions on Uganda:ok:]

She was told on numerous occasions NOT to cover her hair [she did wear a black cloak though] as if she did so, it would create a wedge allowing the Religious Enforcers [Muttawa, nasty, illiterate, criminal bastards to a man] to push further for full veiling etc. of western and non-muslim women.

The Muttawa were very wary of Western Women as they were invariably married to rich, powerful Saudis or were medical staff who had powerful employers or governments departments. Not to mention the possibility of the UK Newspapers getting hold of stuff - the Saudis have a terrible aversion to bad publicity. They would also kick off if approached.

p.s. The full veil is not an Islamic requirement, it's a tribal thing from Saudi more than anything else. Nowhere in the Quran does it require it.

BillHicksRules
30th Jan 2015, 07:58
As has been said previously, Condy Rice, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton all have done this previously with nary a comment being made.

This is just a "story" cooked up by the rabid tinfoil hat wing of the GOP and their fellow travellers.

vctenderness
30th Jan 2015, 09:30
I always hoped that 'The wicked witch' Blair would adopt Islam and don the Burka permanently:}

El Grifo
30th Jan 2015, 10:53
Yup, when in Rome....

Totally agree Westie !

Damn pity that it does not work the other way round :ok:

El G.

SOPS
30th Jan 2015, 11:22
I don't think it would matter what she did, the media would pull her apart.

Worrals in the wilds
30th Jan 2015, 11:46
Interesting, hoofie. Thanks!

cockney steve
30th Jan 2015, 12:00
It is extremely naive to swallow the line that the head of what is arguably the World's richest and most powerful nation, would allow his wife to shame his country in a host-nation's eyes.

Of course the diplomats established protocols before the visit.

The rest of us could attempt to arrange a deviation from the normal to be officially sanctioned, or simply abide by the standards expected by their hosts......
Don't like it? DON'T GO!

rgbrock1
30th Jan 2015, 13:03
mikedreamer:

Question for you then. If you subscribe to the notion that "when in Rome" should it not work the other way around? Here in the U.S. customs have it that women do not run around with scarves over their heads. Thus, those from "elsewhere" should follow that custom and ditch the garb, no?

El Grifo
30th Jan 2015, 13:17
Just what I said 5 posts back rgb :ok:

El. G.

rgbrock1
30th Jan 2015, 13:25
I know that El Grifo. Great minds think alike! (Although I was questioning mikedreamer)

Tolsti
30th Jan 2015, 16:57
Observing and following your host nations traditions and beliefs is Diplomatic Protocol.

However it has yet to be published as a comic so the O'bummers won't have read it.

mutt
30th Jan 2015, 17:14
Rather than worrying if she had her head covered, i thought that they would be more concerned that the US contingent was left standing on the apron while the Saudi contingent went off to pray. I guess that disrespect can work both ways.

SMT Member
30th Jan 2015, 17:28
All part of the arrogance and ignorance which the Obamas seem to share.

Share with whom? Queen Elizabeth II? Andrea Merkel?

A wise old man once said 'if only the Saudi's had discovered onions instead of oil, the world would be a much nicer place'.

finfly1
30th Jan 2015, 17:35
Mr Steve makes a very telling point and I was almost convinced, until I remembered that the protocol officer is part of the same government which has produced

affordable health care
mission accomplished
equal opportunity
enduring freedom

and more recently

credible threats.

mikedreamer787
30th Jan 2015, 18:31
Thus, those from "elsewhere" should follow that custom and ditch the garb, no?

Totally agree RGB. If an arab princess visits
say France with its gazetted law re burqas,
she has to ditch the headgear soon as she
reaches immigration checkpoint regardless
of her culture or status title. If she doesn't
like it she can fcuk off back home then and
there.

perantau
30th Jan 2015, 19:19
In some societies, the norm is be whatever one wants to be. So cover up or expose, no one gives a hoot.

Over there, men in general wear red headgear & white robes and women wear black robes. It would suggest a more conformist society. To observe the hosts' preference would be good form.

DarrenWheeler
31st Jan 2015, 12:28
otally agree RGB. If an arab princess visits
say France with its gazetted law re burqas,
she has to ditch the headgear soon as she
reaches immigration checkpoint regardless
of her culture or status title. If she doesn't
like it she can fcuk off back home then and
there.

Would she though? As a Princess, she may well be covered by the Vienna Convention and as such is immune for prosecution.

No matter what Michelle did she would have been criticised.

Wear a veil and she would have given approval to the oppression of women.
Not wear a veil and she would have insulted her hosts.