ABC's Chief Whitehouse Correspondent is all fired up. In this video she shows her displeasure with Saudi Arabia. Here's what she had to say about it on ABC's blog:
Saudis Get Bombs---I Get Booted
January 14, 2008 6:09 PMAlessandra L.-->
By: Martha Raddatz
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
The administration wants to sell 900 JDAMs ..those big, precise GPS controlled bombs, to a country that won't let me go to the hotel gym because I am a woman. And it is an American owned hotel--a Marriott. Yes, the announcement that the JDAMS would be added to the 20 billion dollar weapons package for the region came at almost the precise time I walked into the gym to inquire how late it would be open. "Sorry, ma'am---but ladies are not allowed in here." As you might imagine, this did not sit well with me. After eight brutal days on the road hopping from country, you grab a workout whenever you can. So I offered what I thought was a reasonable compromise---let the men work out for a few hours, then let "the ladies" work out. "Let me check," the man at reception offered. I knew it wouldn't happen, but I had to try. After a few minutes, the answer that I expected. "Sorry, ma'am, but that is not possible."
Don't get me wrong, I respect other cultures and am a seasoned traveler in the Mideast. I know in some places they separate women and men (which is what my solution addressed I thought!) But it is the first time in decades I was made to feel like a second class citizen---and it is not a pleasant feeling. I also wondered how President Bush, an exercise fanatic, would feel if he was turned away from a gym. He touts the positive changes that the US invasion of Afghanistan brought...and criticizes the human rights record in Saudi ( compared to that record the no gym action pales) but judging from the fact we are spending two days here (and only 4 hours in Egypt) Saudi is very high on the president's BFF list.
And I am sure all the men on the treadmill were pleased about the news that 123 million dollars worth of bombs might be coming this way. I don't know how the women feel--there weren't any around.
Poor Martha. Yes, I'm sure it was a tramatic thing for her not to be able to use a work out gym in Saudi Arabia. Athough I doubt it was nearly as tramatic as this story where two female domestic workers were beaten to death in Saudi Arabia. Or this story where fifteen girls were burned to death because they were prevented from escaping a blazing building - they were not wearing proper Islamic dress. Or this story where a gang-rape victim was sentenced to ninety lashes.
You, go, Martha! And when you get done feeling sorry for yourself then, maybe you can start reporting on real abuse of women in the Middle East.