Huma Abedin

Who is Huma Abedin?  She has been dubbed “The Good Wife”.  Why?  She is standing by her husband Anthony Weiner in spite of new revelations about his online communications with a twenty-something woman.  As we all know Anthony Weiner was involved in the Twitter Photo scandal in June 2011, bringing unwanted media attention on his wife.

On Tuesday, July 23, 2013, Huma spoke at a press conference making it clear that she was going to remain committed to her marriage and supportive of her husband who is currently running in the New York City mayoral race.

Huma was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan. When she was two years old, her family moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Both her parents were educators. Her father, Syed Zainul Abedin, was born in India in 1928, was an alumnus of Aligarh Muslim University, and later received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He died in 1993. Her Pakistani mother, Saleha Mahmood Abedin, also received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and is currently an associate professor of sociology at Dar Al-Hekma College in Jeddah.  Huma returned to the United States to attend George Washington University.

Huma began working as an intern for the White House in 1996 and was assigned to Hillary Rodham Clinton and is currently a director working on the transition team of Mrs. Clinton. She served as traveling chief of staff and “body woman” for Clinton during Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential election.

In 2010 Huma was included in Time’s “40 under 40”, a list of a “new generation of civic leaders” and “rising stars of American politics”.  Clinton had high praises for her, stating in a speech, “I only have one daughter. But if I had a second daughter, it would [be] Huma.”

Huma is not a stranger to unwanted attention.  Her Muslim faith came under attack on June 13, 2012 when allegations about her were raised by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Congressman Trent Franks (R-Arizona), Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Congressman Tom Rooney (R-Florida), and Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R-Georgia) who sent a letter to the Deputy Inspector General of the Department of State, Harold W. Geisel, requesting an investigation into the influence of anyone associated with the Muslim Brotherhood on State Department policy, citing a study by the Center for Security Policy, a principal proponent of Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy theories, that said that Abedin “has three family members–her late father, her mother and her brother–connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations”.

Republicans John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Ed Rollins defended Abedin against these allegations. John McCain stated, “These allegations about Huma and the report from which they are drawn are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable woman, a dedicated American and a loyal public servant… The letter and the report offer not one instance of an action, a decision or a public position that Huma has taken while at the State Department that would lend credence to the charge that she is promoting anti-American activities within our government… These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis and no merit. And they need to stop now.”  Speaker of the House John Boehner was right when he said that these accusations about Huma were “pretty dangerous” because she and her family were place under police protection when they were threatened by a New Jersey man as result of this controversy.

Huma married Anthony on July 10, 2010.  A year later she was subjected to his social media scandal.  Prior to their marriage Anthony had revealed his online relationships to her.  According to Anthony, when Huma learned of the new revelations, she “was very unhappy, she was very disappointed, and she told me as much.  And she also told me that she loved me and we’re going to get through this.”

Notes to Women salutes this honorable woman, dedicated mother and loyal wife.  We wish her all the best and hope that Anthony will do whatever he needs to do to preserve his marriage.

 

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Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huma_Abedin

Eleanor Roosevelt

Earlier this month when I was reading about African American women who made a difference so that I could feature them in the special issue of Notes to Women newsletter, one name kept popping up–Eleanor Roosevelt.  I promised myself that I would do a little writeup on her.  And here we are.

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world” (http://www.udhr.org/history/biographies/bioer.htm).

She basically believed that charity begins at home.  And she reminds me of something a friend once said to me.  “The difficulty in following Jesus’ command is that we often pick and choose who we decide is our neighbour. We see our neighbour as the starving, AIDS infected person in the Third World or the orphan in a war torn country, needing our love and care but often perceive the homeless in our community as undeserving of our love.”

Eleanor’s childhood was a dreadfully unhappy one.  Her father was an alcoholic who was disowned by his family. Her mother, renowned for her beauty, was distant from her daughter whom she nicknamed “Granny” because she seemed to her old-fashioned. After Anna Roosevelt died of diphtheria in 1892, Eleanor, age eight, was raised by her maternal grandmother. She rarely saw her father thereafter, and he died of drink in 1894 when she was ten. These traumatic experiences affected Eleanor for life and she would harbor a constant yearning for unconditional love (http://www.lkwdpl.org/wihohio/roos-elex.htm). 

Life didn’t improve much when when Eleanor married Franklin, a distant cousin and they had six children.  Eleanor had to deal with her overbearing mother-in-law who apparently told her grandchildren that their mother only bore them.  She tried to control Eleanor, making her daughter-in-law feel utterly dependent.  

Then Eleanor found out that Franklin was having an affair with Lucy Mercer, her secretary.  She offered him a divorce, but he declined for the sake of his political career and because his mother threatened to disinherit him if he did.  He and Eleanor never shared a bedroom after that, but their working relationship was respectful, for the time (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FranklinDRoosevelt).

Eleanor Roosevelt was the first First Lady to be more politically active, involving herself in causes like Civil Rights.  Perhaps it was because there was lack of charity in her own home that made Eleanor want to reach out to her community.   From early adulthood Eleanor Roosevelt dedicated herself to liberty, justice, and compassion for all.

Racial injustice came to her attention only after she reached the White House.   By that time, she was already active in promoting other groups’ causes. Before she married Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1905, she worked with the immigrants at the Rivington Street Settlement House. During World War I she helped improve conditions for US servicemen.When Franklin fell ill, leaving him crippled, she once again found herself standing up for someone whose value to society was doubted, this time her own husband. The 1921 experience deepened her concern for society’s unaccepted. Later the same decade she began her work promoting women’s causes. Women had just gained the right to vote, and Eleanor encouraged them to make the most of that right and run for office. 

After leaving the White House, Mrs. Roosevelt found herself more free than ever to promote equal rights for African Americans. During her final years she continued fighting as hard and fearlessly as ever. On at least one occassion, the Secret Service warned her not to keep a speaking engagement on civil disobedience. The Ku Klux Klan had put a price on her head and the Secret Service said they could not guarantee her safety. Undeterred, she traveled with another lady and her revolver. Such was her determination, independence, and courage right up to the year she died.

Mrs. Roosevelt was not always successful, even despairing at times of making any progress at all. And not every one of the causes she championed, such as the United Nations, turned out to be all that she hoped. But she used every ounce of her influence, charisma, and political capital for the causes in which she believed. Right or wrong, she fought zealously and courageously, and in most cases the world is a better place because of those fights. This zealous First Lady’s support moved African Americans’ cause ahead by decades
 (http://www.blackhistoryreview.com/biography/ERoosevelt.php).

Eleanor Roosevelt came a long way from being an unhappy child and dependent woman to becoming a champion for women’s and civil rights.  She was committed to what she believed in.  

Be inspired by this remarkable woman who endured so much but in the end gave so much because she cared about the rights of others. 

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one

Eleanor Roosevelt