Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Slavery Is Freedom

The NY Times reports on a visit by Karen Hughes to Saudi Arabia on behalf of the Bush administration. She spoke to 500 women at a university:
When Ms. Hughes expressed the hope here that Saudi women would be able to drive and "fully participate in society" much as they do in her country, many challenged her.

"The general image of the Arab woman is that she isn't happy," one audience member said. "Well, we're all pretty happy." The room, full of students, faculty members and some professionals, resounded with applause.

The administration's efforts to publicize American ideals in the Muslim world have often run into such resistance. For that reason, Ms. Hughes, who is considered one of the administration's most scripted and careful members, was hired specifically for the task.

Many in this region say they resent the American assumption that, given the chance, everyone would live like Americans.
Reread that last sentence. The key phrase is "given the chance". Shouldn't the point be that these women do not have the chance to live as they would like? Don't these women deserve the freedom to decide whether or not they would like to drive? Don't these women deserve the freedom to dress in whatever manner they choose? Don't these women deserve to be free from the fear of severe punishment if they do not behave in a certain way? Were these women hand-picked for this audience? Were they free to speak their minds?

Shouldn't the NY Times be asking these questions?