Blog | Congresswomen visit S Arabia to help bring democracy to Iran. Find no female toilets.

US Congresswomen visit Saudi Arabia to discuss the "Iranian threat" but get treated to some gender segregation instead.

Ceasefire Bites, Editor's Desk, New in Ceasefire - Posted on Monday, February 6, 2012 21:24 - 1 Comment

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Rep. Diane Black, R-Gallatin, got an up-close look at gender segregation in Saudi Arabia last week. (Photo: Aaron Thompson/Gannett Tennessee)

Irony reputedly breathed its last when Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace prize in 1973. However, presumably in an attempt to make that fate certain, history has since provided plenty of metaphorical extra close-range shots to the face.

The latest of these came courtesy of a visit last week by eight members of the US Congress, including three women, to Saudi Arabia, that known beacon of democracy and human rights and – with its recent purchase of 60 billion dollar-worth of US weaponry – peaceful neighbourliness, to discuss the “nuclear threat” posed by Iran, a country which, you see, is really, really horrible and scary (we paraphrase).

As with David Cameron’s visit to the Kingdom three weeks ago, a substantial parade of gigantic white elephants (emblazoned with “Bahrain”, “Women Drivers”, “Shia minority” etc) was accompanying the visiting delegation everywhere it went. And, rather predictably, with the resulting cognitive dissonance reaching unbearable levels, something had to give. Literally.

In the words of the Tennessean:

“When the lawmakers asked to use the bathroom after a lengthy visit to the Saudi Defense Ministry, they ran into an unexpected challenge: no women’s restroom.”

Rep. Diane Black, a former nurse, later remarked in an interview:

“It was kind of like, hmm, OK, I’ve heard about oppression, but really there are just some things that are natural and biological”

Another representative, described the experience as “astonishing,”. However, all was well in the end.

“Lawmakers didn’t complain because they understood they were in another country with different rules.”

Of course.

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houria
Feb 7, 2012 7:36

i like the “with its recent purchase of 60 billion dollar-worth of US weaponry –”

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