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September 26, 2012

Through the Campaign ‘12 Window: Obama, Women and the General Assembly

The future must not belong to those who bully women. It must be shaped by girls who go to school and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons. from: Obama’s speech to the General Assembly, September 25, 2012

If not for the recent anti-American upheaval in the Middle East followed by the killing of America’s Libyan ambassador, I wonder if Obama’s appearance at the General Assembly in the stretch drive of Campaign ‘12 would have generated much attention at all. Given that relations with the Islamic world are suddenly very much on the radar, however, this photo by Getty’s Spencer Platt is its own political mirror.

I should say, I wish I knew a little more about who’s who. Even looking at the photo full-size and flipping it horizontally, I’m still not able to make out the name of the country on that placard, for instance. If you look carefully though, you’ll notice in the reflection there are four women (delegates?) in head scarfs listening to Obama.In a straightforward reading, the photo has to do with how Obama reflects in the Islamic world and how Muslim perceptions reflect back on him (which, in turn, reflects critically now on how Americans look upon their top diplomat and C.I.C.)

In appealing for human rights in the Middle East, however, with particular emphasis on respect and equality for women, the photo couldn’t emphasis that theme enough. But then, Obama having just come from a TV appearance on The View and also pressing hard (against the GOP bullies) for the women’s vote, it’s also interesting how these priorities merge with the demographics of the campaign, the woman on both sides of the window (the officer behind Obama, I imagine, being American) seeming to blend together.

(photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images caption: US President Barack Obama addresses world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2012 in New York City. Over 120 prime ministers, presidents and monarchs are gathering this week at the U.N. for the annual meeting. This year’s focus among leaders will be the ongoing fighting in Syria, which is beginning to threaten regional stability.)

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