- State Department February 14, 2012
Whenever America’s banker flies into DC there’s a scramble to the wardrobes by the folks on the hill to find a suitably complimentary color, a clear leader in this obsequious race is Hillary Clinton, whose eye for an outfit never fails to impress. As China’s Vice President Xi Jinping met with U.S. Secretary of State for a luncheon yesterday Hillary was resplendent in a eye-watering red jacket. Politics and low fashion collided in an effort to make China’s next President feel right at home, and what better way than to be dressed in the color so appreciated by the Chinese Communist Party. Officials at the State Department appear to have been busy getting up to speed with China’s favored decorations for such occasions, which usually involve masses of artificial or natural flowers in various combinations of red and yellow. This charming combination had clearly not escaped the attention of covert operations who dutifully briefed staff at the Department on which color scheme would send the right psycho-graphic message to Mr Jinping, which no doubt explains the various items and shades which dominate in the photograph above!
It’s a stressful few days for Hillary, apart from the priority of having to fawn over the Chinese delegation and attend to the seemingly endless guest list of corporate heads all seeking a chance of grovelling before Xi Jinping, watched over by that éminence grise of US-China relations, Henry Kissinger, she is scheduled on Thursday February 16 to present the opening address at a conference to commemorate the Ninth Anniversary of the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. Organized by the State Department and held at the aesthetically pleasing surroundings of Benjamin Franklin Diplomatic Reception Room, it is an important event highlighting a troubling violation of human rights. A number of prominent guest will also be giving speeches, following presentations by Joe Crowley and Hillary’s go to lady, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Melanne Verveer. These include, Molly Melching, Founder and Director of the non-governmental organization Tostan; Imam Mohamed Magid, President of the Islamic Society of North America; Thomas von der Osten-Sacken, General Manager of the German non-governmental organization Association for Crisis Assistance and Development Co-operation (WADI); Nafissatou J. Diop Director of the United Nations Population Fund and United Nations International Children’s Fund Joint Programme on FGM/C; and Zeinab Eyega, Executive Director of the Sauti Yetu Center for African Women.
Anyone concerned with women’s human rights will of course welcome this meeting and its objectives in terms of ending the practice of FGM and raising awareness of this harrowing subject, that it has established an international day of opposition reflects the degree of concern and political importance it has attracted, commanding the supported by Hillary and her Department. Of course Secretary Clinton is no stranger to issues of women’s human rights, and has on occasion spoken out on that equally disturbing issue, China’s policy of forcible sterilizations, on one memorable occasion, prior to the 1995 UN World Conference on Women in Beijing.
Apart however from such isolated criticisms a veil of silence and indifference surrounds the subject of China’s medical atrocities, this contrasts markedly with the response to female genital mutilation, to which feminists. women’s NGOs and bodies such as the United Nations Fund for Population and United Nations Commission On The Status of Women are rightly opposed. It is a vicious disfigurement and abuse of a woman’s freedom of control over her own body.to cut that area of female anatomy for the purposes of cultural practice has attracted concerted and fierce opposition.
What is disappointing is that the same people (including invited speakers at the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation) are utterly silent on China’s mass programs of forced sterilizations. Yet, is the slicing open of a woman against her will, forcibly sterilized through such ‘surgery’, any less barbarous than the practice of FGM? Clearly not as both constitute a violent abuse of women’s human rights. Yet the influential and agitated voices of condemnation on female genital mutilation, many of who will be attending the meeting, maintain a cold hearted silence on the countless numbers of women forcibly sterilized by China.
While we congratulate Ms Clinton for her championing of human rights and support this event, its moral integrity is demeaned by the worrying absence of an equivalent day of action against China’s program of forced sterilizations. How about it Hillary? Will the State Department organize an International Day of Zero Tolerance to China’s Forced Sterilizations?