Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 29, 2007 / 17 Mar-Cheshvan 5768

The Sisterhood of Laura Bush

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia — If Middle Eastern women could vote in American presidential elections, it's very likely that Laura Bush would be president.


Sorry, George.


Traveling throughout the region with the first lady the past several days has been eye-opening to those of us who take women's rights for granted. Although our exposure has been restricted to individuals and groups with whom Bush was meeting — royalty and some regular folk in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan — there's no missing the admiration women here have for their American counterparts.


They respect our democratic freedoms — not to be confused with our libertine ways — and seek to expand their own roles in society. Bush, in her quiet way, is central to that mission.


The first lady doesn't get much credit as a feminist in the U.S., where many who claim to speak for women would scoff at that description. But here, make no mistake, Bush is a sister. And breast cancer awareness — her official reason for visiting the region — has become both a vehicle for women's empowerment and a locus for political action.


As women have found their voices in discussing a disease that was heretofore unmentionable, they have also discovered a new self-confidence that allows them to see themselves differently — not just as victims, but as self-determining actors.


Lama al-Sulaiman, 41, a biochemist and diabetes researcher, as well as one of the first women elected to political office in Saudi Arabia, was also among the first Saudi women to speak openly of her disease. She was one of a dozen women to meet with Bush at a "Breaking the Silence" coffee in Jiddah.


Rather than suffer silently as women traditionally have in this part of the world, Sulaiman insisted on talking about her illness, which she described to me as "an excellent experience." She said talking was healing and that she was "nurtured through people's questions."


"I was like a Hollywood star," she said. "People invited me to groups to talk ... my life took on a new purpose."


That purpose included her election in 2005 to the board of the Jiddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry one week after her last chemotherapy treatment. Being a chamber board member may not seem like much in America, where a woman is running for president, but it is significant in Saudi Arabia, where women aren't allowed to vote. Sulaiman and three others were the first women to become Jiddah Chamber board members.


The Saudi women with whom I spoke were excited, too, about Hillary Clinton's run for the White House. At a private dinner with Princess Hessa, wife of Saudi King Abdullah, several women gathered around to ask about Hillary.


Political differences of degree seem to matter far less than the fact that a woman might become the leader of the free world.


Those who were invited to the palace are, of course, sophisticated women of considerable means. Nevertheless, the frank talk in Saudi Arabia's royal parlors and in breast cancer clinics throughout the Middle East has a trickle-down effect.


Women's liberation through cancer is a hard sell, but change often evolves from pain. Bush's visit to these countries has been a boost for women hoping to gain traction amid ancient customs. Having the first lady join their circle carries a wallop in terms of moral support and influence, if not in immediate political results.


When Sulaiman asked Bush what she thought of Saudi women, the first lady answered with what even jaded reporters recognize as sincerity. Bush confessed to having had a stereotypical view of Saudi women and had assumed, given their head-to-toe coverings, that they would be difficult to communicate with. Instead, Bush said she felt "we have a sisterhood more than we would have thought between American women and Saudi women."


One of the Saudi women pointed to her black abaya and said, "These covers maybe are black, but they're transparent."


Later that day, after flying to Kuwait City, Bush met with a group of political women leaders at a salon called a diwaniya. Some of the women ran for public office in June 2006, the first election in which women were allowed to vote after parliament granted women's suffrage.


No women won, but they did make a dent and are determined to defeat tribalism in Kuwait. As with all things in the Middle East, it's just a matter of time.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.


Kathleen Parker Archives

© 2006, WPWG

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles