I’d like to start this post out by talking about what we should be focusing on in regards to Hillary Clinton this week: the message she is bringing to the African people. According to the New York Post Hillary started out this week “on the first leg of a seven-nation tour of Africa, Clinton will speak to Kenya’s leadership about U.S. concerns for the country, the homeland of President Barack Obama’s father, in the wake of corruption scandals and disputed 2007 elections that led to violence that left more than 1,000 dead.”
Clinton has been all over Africa over the last few days, working to spread a message of goodwill from the United States, while simultaneously offering up criticisms of issues on which the two countries disagree:
“Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sought to rebuild American relations with South Africa on Friday after years of frustration over the nation’s approach to issues like AIDS and the crisis in Zimbabwe.Promising to “broaden and deepen” American ties to South Africa, the continent’s economic and political powerhouse, she said the two countries would “work together to build a global architecture of cooperation.”But she also made clear her disapproval of the nation’s past policies on AIDS, which have been widely criticized as lagging behind science and allowing the premature deaths of hundreds of thousands of people through government inaction.”
[via the New York Times]
“U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Monday for Congolese youth to lead nationwide protests against massive corruption and rampant sexual violence in the country’s violence-torn east.
“You are the ones who have to speak out,” she told university students in Kinshasa. “Speak out to end the corruption, the violence, the conflict that for too long have eroded the opportunities across this country. Together, you can write a new chapter in Congolese history.”
Clinton travels on Tuesday to the eastern city of Goma, the epicenter of horrific rapes and other sexual crimes committed by the military and rebel groups as they fight over the region’s vast mineral wealth.
Clinton said she would press officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo to address the issues. But she stressed that domestic outrage at graft and sexual assaults against women and girls was needed to help prod the government into action.”
[via Yahoo News]
I think its obvious at this point that Clinton’s task is not easy in the least – there’s historical tension, massive cultural differences, rampant misogyny and much more to be contended with here. She should be commended for this huge undertaking or, at the very least, respected for the effort that she is making as Secretary of State.
She should be, but, of course, she isn’t.
Most of us haven’t really heard about what Clinton’s been doing in Africa, especially those of us who get our news primarily from the television news networks, because the news-media has been abuzz with a very different story. Here’s a quick taste of how America’s news networks have been covering her Africa trip for the last few days:
“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lost her cool Monday after a Congolese student, speaking through a translator, asked her what “Mr. Clinton” thought about a Chinese trade deal with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The only problem? Apparently the translator made a mistake and the student had wanted to know what President Obama thought of the deal. A State Department official tells ABC News the student went up to Clinton after the event and told her he was misquoted. No immediate word yet how Clinton responded.”
“You want me to tell you what my husband thinks?” Clinton replied, clearly irked by the thought of being her husband Bill’s spokeswoman.
“My husband is not secretary of state, I am,” she replied. “If you want my opinion I will tell you my opinion. I am not going to be channeling my husband.”
[via ABC News]