As women here do most mornings, Madelena Ngalya left the village around 9 a.m. one recent day and walked alone along a path through the jungle to her farm. The 56-year-old widow had been planting there for about an hour when she saw a soldier at the edge of the field. He walked toward her. "I started trembling when I saw him," she said. "I felt unable to cry, even to scream. I said, 'My son, how are you?'" The soldier asked whether she was by herself. "I said, 'I'm alone here,' she said. "He said, 'If you cry, we have many soldiers in the jungle, and when others hear you cry, they will come to you, too.' My body was like dead. Then he did what he wanted to do."

More . . .

. . . Ngalya and other women wonder whether their own fiercely patriarchal society is encouraging soldiers to rape. Girls here are often forced to marry as young as 13. In some traditions, a kind of ritualized rape is part of a boy's coming of age. Prostitution is common. And in general, Bitondo said with a sense of exhausted humor, women are expected not so much to enjoy their husbands as service them. "According to our custom, even though he's your husband, when he needs sex, he doesn't have to ask your permission," she said. "In this territory, men take women like an instrument that doesn't have any value."

That is one form of patriarchy. Here is another:

A male student rose to ask a question about Chinese financial contracts with Congo. The student asked Clinton what President Obama would think of the deal, but pool reporters in the room said the translator made a mistake, posing the question as what would Bill Clinton think. Clinton looked surprised when she first heard the translation in the headset, and then sharply replied, "You want me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not the secretary of state, I am. You ask my opinion. I will tell you my opinion; I'm not going to channel my husband."

At the State Department, Assistant Secretary P.J. Crowley said the question she heard "struck a nerve," that her opinion on the matter was apparently of less interest than that of her husband, the former president. Crowley told CNN that Clinton's answer must be considered in the context of her African trip. "The secretary of state is going to Goma Tuesday, to draw attention to the plight of women who are victims of rape as a weapon of war" in Congo, Crowley said. "She did react to what she heard," Crowley explained, but regardless that the interpreter may have gotten it wrong, "you can't separate the question from the setting." He said "If Africa, if Congo is going to advance, women have to play a more significant role. She was in the setting of a town hall, and the questioner was interested in what two men thought, not the secretary of state."

This is a good report from CNN. But how did it play with Tweety and his gang? I did not see it but I have no doubt how it played. Probably something like this And like this.

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    Interesting. (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Fabian on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 07:56:13 AM EST
    Hillary's reaction was entirely justified yet the reports imply she was somehow out of line.

    I like seeing that she can actually (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 11:32:20 AM EST
    get fed up enough to bark publicly. Her public patience for these kinds of insults to her was starting to get on my nerves. She certainly kept anyone else from asking questions about Bill's thoughts on her subjects.

    I bet Bill high fives her when she gets home.


    I think HIllary had a right to be offended (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by andgarden on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 08:14:24 AM EST
    but her reaction does seem a bit harsh for a diplomat. I can't say that I wouldn't have been similarly indignant, though.

    She's usually a better speaker. (none / 0) (#3)
    by Fabian on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 08:18:05 AM EST
    I forgive her this incident, since it was a personal issue and not a policy issue.

    Not a polciy issue? (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 08:29:05 AM EST

    Why she spoke sharply (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Fabian on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 08:39:23 AM EST
    was because she was apparently being asked her husband's opinion on something.  She felt the question was a loss of face.  Many...um...western women(better term?) would agree with that.

    I expect some reporters would not have blinked if she had simply answered the question, fully expecting that she had no thoughts of her own and merely parroted whatever the men in her life told her.  


    You know why she reacted like that? (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 08:41:25 AM EST
    Really? I do not know myself, but I feel confident she has faced silly questions like that before.

    My surmise is quite different than yours. I think the CNN article got it. You missed it imo.


    Sometimes deadpan humor (none / 0) (#13)
    by lilburro on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 08:47:02 AM EST
    does not do the trick (and I think deadpan humor is usually her safest and most well-used route).

    Reposting this from yesterday (none / 0) (#30)
    by Spamlet on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 12:43:32 PM EST
    This comes from the AP version of events (emphasis added):

    The Clintons have always been a complicated couple. An accomplished lawyer and politician in her own right, Hillary Rodham Clinton has struggled for decades to balance her interests and ambitions against [the former president's]. She has supported his career while looking to blaze a trail of her own -- at times proud of, and benefiting from, her husband's accomplishments, and at other times frustrated by his failings and his habit of overshadowing her, friends say.

        The biggest controversy of Bill Clinton's career -- an affair with a White House intern that led to impeachment proceedings -- engendered rare sympathy for his wife and helped her win a Senate seat. One of his biggest political miscues -- injecting race into her South Carolina primary with Obama -- helped seal her defeat in the 2008 Democratic primary.

    Is that why NYers voted for RFK (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Cream City on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 01:17:06 PM EST
    as Senator?  Sympathy?  I doubt it.  Not NYers.

    And of course, AP never would say so in his case.


    that's outrageous from the AP (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by nycvoter on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 03:07:15 PM EST
    Wow, .... (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Yman on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 05:33:43 PM EST
    ... when did Fox News buy AP?

    When (none / 0) (#44)
    by squeaky on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 05:43:10 PM EST
    Ron Fournier took over as the DC bureau chief.

    I think she reacted that way because (none / 0) (#39)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 04:23:13 PM EST
    she read that Steve M wants trascribed pillow talk to prove she doesn't channel President Clinton....Heh

    Hey now (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Steve M on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 04:52:17 PM EST
    inquiring minds want to know!

    I like it (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by CST on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 08:43:54 AM EST
    "channeling Bill" - spunky.  

    That would definitely tick me off.

    "Being John Malkovich" (none / 0) (#24)
    by oculus on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 11:26:48 AM EST
    Good On Hillary (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 09:09:10 AM EST
    Seems like they need more of that on a daily basis from women.

    Horrifying conditions there for women, big cultural problem.

    Religious Patriarchy (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by CST on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 09:47:14 AM EST
    In the news as well.  Too many independent  nuns in the U.S., so the Vatican is launching an "inquiry".  Heaven forbid they try to do God's work in their own way.  I realize this is not about Hillary but I thought it relevant to the thread.  I realize there are a lot of cafeteria Catholics out there, but this Pope seems much more of a traditional hardliner than the previous one.  I was kind of hoping the church would move forward not backwards.

    Clinton is representing (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 10:27:00 AM EST
    Obama.  She thinks what Obama thinks.  Even if properly translated, that was a dumb and of course, patriarchical, question.

    Why would anyone with options (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by jondee on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 04:26:17 PM EST
    put themselves in a situation in which they think what someone else thinks, unless you're THAT close to them ideologically; in which case alot of people expelled alot of hot air here during the primaries.

    It's a shame that now the Hillary haters (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 10:44:30 AM EST
    on both the left and the right will belittle her. She was cast as the b!tch during the primaries and now the media and blogs are saying she was upstaged when Bill got the two journalists released. There's just no winning for a strong woman, whether you get defensive or not.

    As far as sexual violence goes, I've always believed in the snip-snip solution. But empowering women is more effective than government or male protection. I'd make it completely legal to kill rapists, and give women weapons for protection. When a few rapists lay dead in the fields, soldiers will start thinking twice about their prey.

    As long as it is the potential... (none / 0) (#23)
    by kdog on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 11:06:52 AM EST
    victim doing the snipping in self-defense I'm with ya, and not the state after the fact....that would be barbaric and inevitably lead to an innocent being snipped.

    Melissa McEwan (5.00 / 4) (#32)
    by lilburro on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 01:03:24 PM EST
    wrote a great post on the subject...

    Nowhere in these reports will you read that Clinton's terse response was the appropriate diplomatic response to the question as posed to her.

    The question, as asked, was a deeply misogynist one. It disrespected Clinton as the United States Secretary of State, and it disrespected her as a person, specifically because she's a woman. What does your husband think? You are merely the wife of an important man.

    This is not an attitude that should be encouraged or even tolerated with a clenched-tooth smile. It is a dangerous, pernicious attitude that keeps women oppressed all over the world--including in Congo, where deeply sexist attitudes underlie an appalling rape epidemic, prompting Clinton to pledge to prioritize the prevention of sexual violence in the US peacekeeping efforts in Congo, noting the institutional corruption anti-rape advocates are up against in the country: "We have to speak out against the impunity of those in positions of authority who either commit these crimes or condone them. There are even some cases of these terrible crimes committed by members of the Congolese military." Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley notes:

    ...with a nice link to this very post.

    Yes, read that at Shakesville. (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 04:14:56 PM EST
    That was such an insightful way to look at it I thought - that the fact that HRC set that example is in itself advocation for women's rights and diplomacy in action.

    That insight will definitely be missed by most!


    I took a cab to the office this morning. (5.00 / 4) (#37)
    by ChiTownDenny on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 03:20:45 PM EST
    It's about a 7 minunte ride.  The driver had BBC on the radio and the broadcast I heard was brits stating support for Hillary's response.  CDS is alive and well in this country.

    Its gotta be annoying... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 08:25:55 AM EST
    to live and work in the shadow of Big Bill...I got no problem with Clinton's response to the question, totally logical and appropriate.

    I just hope it doesn't distract from the issue at hand...drawing attention to the awful plight of women in the Congo and other parts of Africa...and the world.  That's what we should be talking about in regards to the trip, and I think Clinton would agree.

    What attention? (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 08:28:44 AM EST
    I think it is likely to draw attention to the issue myself.

    I hope so... (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by kdog on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 08:35:49 AM EST
    You know how our sorry media is though...the ticker reads "Hillary gets ornery" and the plight of women in the Congo becomes merely a blip.

    Her trip has been getting lots of coverage (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 08:29:33 AM EST
    Good. (none / 0) (#11)
    by Fabian on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 08:41:50 AM EST
    The media aren't totally useless.

    I was in Turkey most of JUly (none / 0) (#45)
    by hairspray on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 07:50:30 PM EST
    and got the Herald Tribune almost daily.  More pictures and coverage of Hillary in that paper than in the US.

    Actually, Tweety (none / 0) (#15)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 09:09:46 AM EST
    showed a pic and read a brief straight news report.  (No actual clip, for some reason.)  His only comment was to say, "Talk about a rumble in the jungle!"  Sophomoric and pointless, but not sexist or even critical.

    I saw it. (none / 0) (#20)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 10:19:13 AM EST
    it was part of the political "side show" and he tried to make Hillary come off looking like a b!tch.
    of course.

    No, he did not (5.00 / 0) (#33)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 01:16:44 PM EST
    He read a straight news item without winking and smirking, then said "That was a rumble in the jungle!" and moved on to the next item.

    he appeared to me (none / 0) (#35)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 02:26:44 PM EST
    to both wink and smirk.

    you decide.


    Reading (listening to) Reading Lolita (none / 0) (#25)
    by oculus on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 11:30:43 AM EST
    in Tehran.  One of the college age students of the author tells the latter of beautiful young women imprisoned  in Iran.  The guards would call such a woman out of the crowded cell and rape the woman.  According to the author, there was no other reason these women were imprisoned.  Many were subsequently executed.  Age of marriage had been nine for females.  Subsequently changed to 18.  Then, after the revolution, back to nine.

    And the chilling purpose (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Cream City on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 11:57:34 AM EST
    behind these rapes, in addition to the rapists getting their joy in violence and sex:  The belief that they were denying these women entry to heaven, as unmarried women only will be allowed there if they still are virgins.  But their belief system means no such refusal at the pearly gates for the guys, the rapists, who saw it as doing God's work.

    Also (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by squeaky on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 12:05:31 PM EST
    Young women sentenced to death are not allowed to be killed if they are virgins, so they are raped by an executioner and are so traumatized by the rape that they welcome death the next day.  

    On the CNN TV report on ... (none / 0) (#29)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 12:12:05 PM EST
    this they used it to lead into a smarmy discussion of Bill Clinton's role in the current administration, furthering their notion of a giant psychodrama between Hillary, Bill and the Obama administration.

    Yup, among other smarmy insinutations (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by vicndabx on Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 12:52:50 PM EST
    about her attitude.  The TV reporting puts an entirely different spin vs. the web article.