22 November, 2006

Leadership summit and hypocrisy

No, by hypocrisy, I don't mean Daddy Bush talking about values, that was to be expected. "Hardtalker" Tim Sebastian, moderator the Abu Dhabi Leadership Summit is the one who deserves special mention for being a self-righteous hypocrite. After grilling both Emirati speakers, Khaldoon al Mubarak as well as Sheikha Lubna on the discrimination against women topic, he turned out to be the most discriminative guy in the room.

There were plenty of young Emirati women raising their hands and wanting to ask questions to the presenters and ONE, I repeat ONE WOMAN, was actually chosen to talk by Tim Sebastian. And she was great, telling Bush how little respect she has for his son, under intense applause from the audience. After that, no more questions from the ladies, but only from a few other guys who told Bush how great he is. Looked a bit like a well prescreened Q&A session...

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13 comments:

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

Q & As in the "land of the fee" are scripted down to the last detaol, you were expecting better here? Besides, these functions are a PR gag anyways.

jack back said...

whay was daddy bush doing here anyways?if they really wanted to, they should have invited bushie boy& let him answer the questions evry1 wants 2 ask(why,o ,why did u invade iraq,son?)

king of truth said...

maybe they should have invited what's his name ,that scottish MP george something (galloway?) to the summit! maybe!

skeptical said...

The speaker in question was exceedingly rude. She personally insulted the son of the person she was speaking to. We hear a lot of talk from Arabs about how politeness is so important in this society, and how the worst thing you can do is be rude.

Maybe she disagrees with the policies of the US government (as I do), but since she has never met Bush and does not know him, she should refrain from personal insults. Even Bush's political enemies will concede that he is unfailingly pleasant and polite in person.

That the whole mob was cheering her on is a sad comment on the immaturity of this society. It is easy to imagine how personally outraged you would all be if hundreds of Americans cheered insults to Shaikh Zayed or Shaikh Maktoum.

secretdubai said...

The speaker in question was exceedingly rude. She personally insulted the son of the person she was speaking to.

I rather think the family relationship was irrelevant in this contect - Bush Jnr is the president of the US. He's not an untouchable subject just because he's someone's son. This was a leadership forum, not a family lunch.

Hesham said...

"Even Bush's political enemies will concede that he is unfailingly pleasant and polite in person."

I really want a source on this.....please.


Blessing:

A few years ago I was at a tech forum atteneded by the president of Intel. The whole Q&A session was prepared 3 days in advance, with those asking the questions being in "training" for eight hours/day.

The Intel guy arrived the night before, then they did a dry run early that moring and by the mracle of lights and music...the live Q&A took place with ahhhhs and ohhhs from the audiance on que.

noora said...

you say he (timmy sebastian) grilled both shaikha lubna & khaldoon al mubarak(who's she?) on discrimination against women,what exactly did he say?i would like to know.

your man in al ain said...

(skeptical:)The speaker in question was exceedingly rude.

I think she was exceedingly polite compared to what I believe should be said. Also, even Bush senior himself said he is used to way worse treatment...

(noora:)you say he (timmy sebastian) grilled both shaikha lubna & khaldoon al mubarak(who's she?) on discrimination against women,what exactly did he say?i would like to know.

i dont recall the exact words, but the topic came up a couple of times in not the most pleasant ways.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with a bit of heckling at these conferences, it livens them up - and I'm sure that Bush snr, being a former president won't lose much sleep over some woman in an audience hurling an insult.

But in the spirit of new freedom at press conferences, I'll wait until an Indian labourer gets the chance to ask a question at the next one where Al Ka'abi is speaking though :) :)

As for Tim Sebastian - well, I would imagine he was told to try and keep it on topic as much as possible, and (I wasn't there so I don't know) if she was one of the first speakers, he may have chosen to ignore certain people in an attempt to stop it descending into farce.

skeptical said...

I think there is nothing wrong with criticizing Bush Jr, even in very robust terms. I also think there is nothing wrong with a little heckling. I support protestors and media agitators.

But inviting somebody to your house and then insulting that person's son to the father's face is, simply put, rude.

I'm sure neither me nor Bush Sr nor Bush Jr care if some Emirati wants to be rude to one of them. We're all grown-ups. I am only saying that this runs counter to the frequently expressed claim that Arabs value politeness and civility in inter-personal exchanges.

oinker said...

You can express an opinion, but please try not to be rude and impolite. It's great to have have the opportunity to criticise a person right to their faces, (how very rare here), but that doesn't make the critic right. In fact, it's quite possible to throw baseless allegations at a person and then do your best to insult him. It doesn't matter how many people agree with you or not. It's part of the moderator's job to limit such nastiness.

As for Tim Sebastian, I fully agree with YMAA. He's got this great reputation for being tough with interviewees, but when it comes to Arabs, he's suddenly a simpering puppy. His interview with Mohammad Alabbar (Emaar chairman) a few years ago was an excellent example. He kept wagging his tail and licking ass throughout the interview, it was truly pathetic. Even when Alabbar's answers to some (not-so-tough) questions was clearly unsatisfactory, he ingratiatingly accepted them and seemed only too eager to please.

Oh, BTW. That's my opinion.

Anonymous said...

You seem to be forgetting that Tim Sebastian isn't on 'Hardtalk' when he is at these conferences.

I doubt his remit is 'make life as difficult as possible', or no-one would ever come back.

Perhaps you should separate the journalist Tim Sebastian from the guy earning money for hosting a conference Tim Sebastian.

gazablanca said...

the host and the guests (so-called leaders) in these kinds of "conferences" and "workshops" are nothing more than mercenaries; but I don't blame them....! these events seem to be basically very sad PR exercises indeed!

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