diplomat

Photo of the Day

Gertrude Bell, third from left, was flanked by Winston Churchill and T.E. Lawrence on a visit to the Pyramids in 1921. Credit The Gertrude Bell Archive, Newcastle University.

‘Queen of the Desert’

Gertrude Bell Scaled the Alps, Mapped Arabia, and Midwifed the Modern Middle East

In a picture taken to mark the Cairo Conference of 1921, Gertrude Bell – characteristically elegant in a fur stole and floppy hat, despite being on camel back – sits right at the heart of the action. To one side is Winston Churchill, on her other TE Lawrence.

Bell was his equal in every sense: the first woman to achieve a first (in modern history) from Oxford, an archaeologist, linguist, Arabist, adventurer and, possibly, spy. In her day, she was arguably the most powerful woman in the British Empire – central to the decisions that created the modern Middle East and reverberate still on the nightly news.

Yet while Lawrence is still celebrated, she has largely been forgotten.

Newspaper articles of the time show she was known all over the world. The minutes of the Cairo Conference record her presence at every key discussion but not one of the men mentions her in their memoirs. It’s as if she never existed

How to chart the life of an Englishwoman — an explorer, spy, Mountaineer, translator, and archaeologist — who’s been all but written out of colonial Middle Eastern history? Luckily Gertrude Bell was a prolific letter writer” and “early photography enthusiast and— she left behind some 1,600 letters and over 7,000 photographs. It was an interest in archaeology that helped propel Bell’s many trips into the desert, beginning in 1900 to Palmyra. She nurtured the ambition of being the first to discover and document a site. Early in her travels, she recognised the importance of photographic documentation, along with notes, drawings, rubbings and casts. Bell was a complex, fascinating woman who was pivotal in the tangled history of the modern state of Iraq.

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Face of the day

oldlady

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that prohibits women from driving.

Many conservative Saudi women do not support loosening traditional gender roles and restrictions, on the grounds that Saudi Arabia is the closest thing to an “ideal and pure Islamic nation,” and under threat from “imported Western values”.

-Wiki

I wonder if today’s face of the day thinks that Western Values are currently under threat by ‘ Pure ‘ Islam  in the UK?

Whatever her personal views I just love this true story of how she was not afraid to offend King Abdullah.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died yesterday aged 90, and there has been some controversy over the tributes paid by world leaders to the ruler of a repressive regime that carries out public beheadings and bans women from driving.

Amid debate over whether flags should be flying at half-mast from government buildings, and Westminster Abbey, out of respect for Abdullah, it turns out, however, that our very own Queen had nailed the best way to handle the Saudi ruler many years ago.

This story, taken from former Saudi ambassador Sherard Cowper-Coles’s memoir Ever the Diplomat, was widely shared on social media on Friday; mainly because it’s amazing.

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - MAY 14:  Queen Elizabeth II is seen reflected in the wing mirror of her Land Rover as she follows The Duke of Edinburgh as he competes in the Driving Grand Prix Competition B - The Marathon event during the Royal Windsor Horse Show at Home Park, Windsor Castle on May 14, 2005 in Windsor, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

WINDSOR, ENGLAND – MAY 14: Queen Elizabeth II is seen reflected in the wing mirror of her Land Rover as she follows The Duke of Edinburgh as he competes in the Driving Grand Prix Competition B – The Marathon event during the Royal Windsor Horse Show at Home Park, Windsor Castle on May 14, 2005 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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Sorry – For Lumping NZ Men In With Alleged Dirty Malaysian Diplomat

Alleged Cowardly Runaway Dirty Malaysian Diplomat

Alleged Cowardly Runaway Dirty Malaysian Diplomat

I watched Tania Billingsley’s interview on 3rd Degree on her experiences in dealing with an alleged cowardly runaway dirty Malaysian diplomat.

I don’t have any doubt that she is telling the truth about being sexually assaulted and while I think she never should have appeared on television until after the extradition has actually taken place (now more difficult of course) it was her choice.

But the entire piece reeks of a politically motivated woman focusing on making political points at New Zealand men in an anti-National tone (McCully and Key both named) to push an agenda.  I am pretty certain she will end up being named as a supporter of the political left of the spectrum.

As a woman I have complete sympathy for what happened to her in terms of the alleged assault, what happened to her was awful and the only positive was that it was an attempted assault not a “successful” one.  Likewise as a woman I do not support what she has said and the agenda she is pushing with her appearance on 3rd Degree.

Miss Billingsley perhaps needs to remember in all of this that a New Zealand born male did not even commit this alleged sexual assault on her.  

Every commentator on the issue and any New Zealand man you speak to wants the alleged cowardly runaway dirty Diplomat on the next plane.  No one in New Zealand is supporting him.  It is the wrong issue to push the barrow that “New Zealand has a rape culture”.   Read more »