|President and Michelle Obama in Riyadh|
President Obama led a parade of American dignitaries in Riyadh the Tuesday following the death of Saudi King Abdullah. The visit was to pay respects to the late King Abdullah.
Traveling with the US entourage was First Lady Michele Obama who created media buzz behind her uncovered head. I knew some folks were going to find something wrong with the First Lady - I just didn’t know what.
Yes, in Saudi Arabia women are forbidden to appear in public with their heads uncovered. But Ms. Obama is not from Saudi Arabia and she’s the First Lady of The United States. Well it comes as no surprise to me that armchair critics and social media trolls came out in force commenting on Ms. Obama’s uncovered head.
Let me be clear, no matter what Ms. Obama wore there was going to be some negative backlash. If she had chosen to wear a scarf she would have been accused of shunning western values and the good old GOP probably would have attempted to bring her up on treason charges. And Lord help her if she had chosen to don a niqap - the ignorant racists would have come out in full force and charged her with being a Muslim extremist.
So Ms. Obama chose to wear conservative loose fitting black trousers and a long jacket that fully covered her arms. She chose not to wear a head covering. I’d say she put some effort into not blatantly rubbing Saudi culture while at the same time not selling out western principles. She respectively navigated an atmosphere saturated with high powered ultra-conservative Saudi male dignitaries without a hitch. I don’t see the problem folks are having with the head.
The visit was out of respect for a deceased King , not a summit to challenge east and west culture values. The President and First Lady represented the US well and it should be left at that. But it won’t be left at that because this is the Obamas. if there ever were two people that are damned if they do or damned if they don’t even when they choose to do nothing - its the Obamas.