The term we used in Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia for women dressed like this was “BMOs”; Black Moving Objects:
This picture was taken while First Lady Laura Bush attended a Breast Cancer Awareness tour in the “moderate” United Arab Emirates. (Oct 20-26)
The two women; Shareefa Sayed Al-Hashemi and Nabaweia Hussein Al Zaabi, are cancer survivors but I’ll be damned if I can tell what they are under all that uh….camouflage.
Later, she dons a “hijab”, as a gesture of what??? Empathy? Et tu, Laura?
This was after the Whitehouse PR said she would not:
…..we asked if Bush will be wearing some sort of abaya while she’s in Saudi Arabia. “No,” Sally McDonough, the first lady’s spokeswoman, tells USA TODAY’s David Jackson, adding: “they do not expect nor encourage it” of Western visitors.
Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright didn’t wear head coverings when they visited Riyadh on official business, according to the photographs in our archive.
State Department advisory:
The Saudi Embassy in Washington advises women traveling to Saudi Arabia to dress in a conservative fashion, wearing ankle-length dresses with long sleeves, and not to wear trousers in public. In many areas of Saudi Arabia, particularly Riyadh and the central part of the Kingdom, Mutawwa pressure women to wear a full-length black covering known as an Abaya, and to cover their heads. Most women in these areas therefore wear an Abaya and carry a headscarf to avoid being accosted. Women who appear to be of Arab or Asian origin, especially those presumed to be Muslims, face a greater risk of being confronted.
Some Mutawwa try to enforce the rule that men and women who are beyond childhood years may not mingle in public, unless they are family or close relatives. Mutawwa may ask to see proof that a couple is married or related. Women who are arrested for socializing with a man who is not a relative may be charged with prostitution. Some restaurants, particularly fast-food outlets, have refused to serve women who are not accompanied by a close male relative. In addition, many restaurants no longer have a “family section” in which women are permitted to eat. These restrictions are not always posted, and in some cases women violating this policy have been arrested. This is more common in Riyadh and the more conservative central Nejd region.
I’ll tell you this, when we were deployed there in Desert Storm to pull Kuwait’s ass out of the Iraqi fire, and ensure that Hussein didn’t get any funny ideas about a side trip to Riyadh, we walked through the streets in uniform, full battle rattle, and M16s. We didn’t take shit from anybody, and the U.S. Army made it clear to the goat-smelling King Abdullah that we were there to perform a mission and Hijabs and Burquas are not Army issue. Alot of the male locals shot us dirty looks, we promptly shot back. I still hate those fucking camel jockeys….
Saudi Arabia shares oppressive, misogynist practices with other Islamic states. Remember, they’re our “allies”. Where in the hell is the National Organization for Women, Amnesty International, or any of the other “concerned activist” organizations?
Women have no rights there; they can’t vote, divorce, own property, hold office, drive, or go out in public without wearing a burka and accompanied by a male relative. They’re beaten, killed for ‘family honor’, and suffer genital mutilation, but Laura Bush drops in just to discuss breast cancer.
Chalk one up for dhimmitude.
Debbie Schlussel has the full story and more pictures here: