Ms. Clinton had just paid a quick visit to the Middle East this week,. I hope she is not fallowing her husband footsteps in ending her career with a visit to the troubled area, it seems that when American leaders have trouble at home and want to end their careers, they look for trouble abroad, and the Middle East is the place where they usually leave their political suicide note. Nixon done it during Watergate scandal, Carter during his one term hiccup and of courses Bill Clinton after Monica scandal. Ms. Clinton started her visit in Egypt, it was her first visit after the toppling of ex-dictator and American long time reliable friend Hosni Mubarak. Egyptians are still in an angry mood, and they protest against anything that moves; and Ms. Clinton wasn’t an exception. As Reuters reported- “Protesters threw tomatoes and shoes at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s motorcade on Sunday” …some chanted: “Monica, Monica”, a reference to Former President Bill Clinton’s extra-marital affair. Some chanted: “leave, Clinton”, it is the same chant that was prevalent in Egypt uprising against dictator Hosni Mubarak. Anti American sentiment was high, protestors resented American meddling with Egypt affairs and conspiracy theorists accused her of financing Muslim brotherhood and supporting them against the Military.
She finally managed to meat with Islamist and brotherhood president Mohamed Musri. she also meat with Field Marshal Tantawi, minster of defense under Mubarak and now head of SCAF, Supreme Council of Armed Forces, the one actuality running the country. Egyptian media and fBook/twitter activists talked about the handshake that didn’t happened when meeting president Mursi, and the joyful laughter she had with Marshal Tantawi. Photoshop picture of Ms. Clinton wearing a white wedding gown walking through the door with Marshal Tantawi went viral, “she needed a military man” tweeted A.S Khaled. People talked about Ms. Najla Mahmoud, Egypt first lady dress, Abaya (full Hijab) for weeks, however nobody had talked about the dress of American ex-first lady and secretary of state during here Middle East visit. In the Middle East politics where symbolism is as real as reality itself, dress plays a major role in expression political message, Arab leaders usually men dress send a political message to the masses define their political affiliation. Yasser Arafat scarf, Saudi Kings Jilbab, and nobody has used dresses as a political messages like Qaddafi of Libya, from a young revolutionary dress, to Bedouin, Arabs Islamic costumes, to king of Africa expansive uniform. Egyptian Field Marshal Tanatwi early on, right after the revolution, was spotted walking in downtown Cairo wearing a civilian suit, political activists cried foul, and accused him of campaigning and flirting with presidency, his political ambition was put to rest in a hurry. The color as cultural phenomena changes its meaning based on each society and its history. In American dress diplomacy, the color of the dress is as important as the dress itself. We all remember Ms. Clinton yellow dress on the campaign trail, projecting modern women independency. The history of American diplomatic dress protocol, and according to Wikipedia; U.S. diplomats routinely designed and wore uniforms of their own choosing until 1817, however, In response to what was perceived as the excessive ostentatiousness of some of these individualized uniforms, Congress banned diplomatic uniforms altogether in 1867, by passing a resolution forbidding diplomatic officials to wear “any uniform or official costume not previously authorized by Congress. The dress diplomacy has to veer to culture sensitivity especially in the Middle East. Ms. Clinton in her visit with Mr. Mursi, she was wearing a black dress, and during her visit with Marshal Tantawi she was wearing a green dress, but during her visit to Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, she had a white dress. Im not trying to read too much into this color diplomacy here, color can means different thing do different people. But let me go on a lime here and say this, the thoughts and planning of the secretary of state dress probably was more than what Egypt new first lady had put in her wardrobe her entire life. It is not coincidence that the black color that Ms. Clinton had during her visit with Islamist Mr. Mursi, is a safe choice for the secretary of state, that who was sent by the Obama administration like a drone without a pilot, the color black reflects traditional, conservative and according -it is also the color of Islamist Jihad flag-. The green color dress that she had during her visit with Marshal Tantawi asides of being the color of Military it is also the color of money. Egypt gets $1.3B of military aid every year. Ms. Clinton however during her visit to the Jewish state, and meat with Israel prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu she had a white dress, the color of peace, purity and innocence…. but unfortunately in the Islamic world; white is the color of death.
Ahmed Tharwat, freelance writer, public speaker
Arab American TV show, BelAhdan, Minnesota, USA