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Saudi Blogger Misses Chance to Meet Karen Hughes

Much controversy has surrounded the mission of Ambassador Karen Hughes, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and Public Affairs at the US Department of State, to the Middle East. Most of Arab media said the visit is useless, because they don't believe that this woman will be able to improve the US government's ruined image in the region.

“[I]t seems not only foolish but impossible to think that any change could have been effected in so short a time,” Arab News said. Abdul-Rahman Al-Rashed, a Saudi columnist who is said to be pro-American, has called Hughes “George W. Bush’s cleaner in the Arab region.” He thinks she is “deluding herself if she thinks anyone will believe her or show interest in the good deeds she will enumerate.”

After visiting Egypt, Hughes went to Saudi Arabia, where she had met with King Abdullah, Crown Prince Sultan, ministers, officials, students and their families, intellectuals, and journalists. There were six different meetings, and Saudis were told to speak their minds because Hughes is not only an American official, but also a close friend of the president whom he trusts and listens to

The Saudi blogger Fouad Al-Farhan was invited to one of these meetings at the house of the prominent Saudi scholar Dr. Osama Angawi in Jeddah. His main motivation to attend the meeting was what he found on the internet about the special bond between Hughes and Bush, and because “it is rare to get the chance to meet someone who is close to the most human being I hate on earth,” he said.

Al-Farhan was surprised by the large number of guests, but he did not care because he went there to deliver his message. However, he could not stand the existence of many Saudi liberals and Saudi women, so he left the meeting before it was even started. “I felt that those people cannot represent the Saudi society,” he said.

At the end of his post (Arabic) about the meeting, Al-Farhan says he did not know if he made the right decision when he left, and asks the readers: “What do you think?”

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  • Thanks Ahmed for this very interesting post. So what are Al-Farhan’s readers saying about his decision? Do they agree or disagree or are they arguing?

  • T. Montoya

    It really says something when Al-Farhen says he couldn’t stand the sight of women so he left. That says a lot about his values. And those Saudis have a lot of cheek to dare be angry at America for thinking of them as terrorists. I read during that meeting that Saudis were angry at America for thinking of them as terrorists. I wonder where on Earth Americans would get the idea that Saudis are terrorists? Maybe the whole thing of hijacking our airplanes, slamming into our buildings, funding terorists, shouting death to America, would make us think that Saudis…maybe wish to do us harm?
    If they all want to kill us, does he expect us to be happy with Saudis or Arabs?
    By the way thousands of Saudis have gone to Iraq and join Al-Quaeda.
    To fight the “occupation”? yeah that too. But for every US soldier that has died in bomb attacks, 10 Iraqis have been killed by the foreign “freedom fighters”.

  • ali

    Thanks Ahmed for the short translation. But Fouad’s blog address is not

  • charlie ehlen

    I cannot stand the sight of ANY member of the most criminal administration in American history. This from a former US Marine and Viet Nam veteran. Ms. Hughes is a fraud, just like the Shrub is a fraud. Thie ENTIRE criminal gang needs to be locked up for life, making little rocks from big rocks. Oh, with NO possibility of ever getting parole.

  • T. Montoya: please, awaken from your ignorance. It’s sad what oversimplifications, a disgusting few, and the media has done to you. Once you actually meet, or try to befriend a Saudi, you’ll be surprised to see just how narrow your understanding of Saudi “values” are. We’re all humans in the end.

    And Ahmed, I wouldn’t call people who approve of the Bush administration “liberals” I would call them back-stabbing, two-faced Arab leaders. There are many liberals who, just like Farhan, wouldn’t have really enjoyed such meetings.

  • […] If you have been following Global Voices for more than six months, then you probably have read the name of Fouad Al-Farhan in this space several times before this one. Actually, one of my posts here back in October 2005 featured a post by Al-Farhan, when he left a meeting with Karen Hughes, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs at the US Department of State during a visit to Saudi Arabia. So, who is Fouad Al-Farhan? […]

  • […] one of my posts here back in October 2005 featured a post by Al-Farhan, when he left a meeting with Karen Hughes, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs at the US Department of State during a visit to Saudi Arabia. So, who is Fouad Al-Farhan?Fouad Al-Farhan is one of the pioneer Saudi bloggers. He was born in 1975 in Taif, west of Saudi Arabia, and received his higher education in the United States. He graduated from Eastern Washington University with a degree in marketing, then joined Ball State University for a masters degree in computer sciences. “Although Bush and his gang have been trying to remove all my good memories from my life in America, but I still think that I have lived the best years of my life there, moving between different states such as Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, and Indiana,” he told me during an interview via email. […]

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