Friday, December 02, 2005

Khashoggi's Angels

Al-Hamedi has an interesting post on a Ms.Tanya Hsu on his blog. She writes PR pieces masquerading as journalism for the Saudi government.

Ms Hsu obtained a degree in economics from the University of London, according to her bio.(scroll down to the bottom) According to the same bio, she organised a conference on Arab-American understanding in 2003. The earliest piece that al-Hamedi has found is from 2003; I can't find anything from earlier either. I've checked Factiva, Lexis and Dialog too, though that's not foolproof.

In May 2003, Jamal Khashoggi was fired from al-Watan. By September 2003 he was ensconced in London as an adviser to the Saudi Embassy there.

I happen to know of one confirmed instance in which Mr Khashoggi has offered to pay for a young, well-educated and attractive woman to produce glossy magazines or other such material telling 'the truth' - but certainly not the whole truth - about Saudi Arabia.

I note from some of the tracks that Ms Hsu has left on the internet that she is a devotee of the Palestinian cause. Let me just say that I'm not inferring that there's anything wrong (or right, for that matter) with supporting the Palestinian cause. But the issue is the darling of leftists in London universities, and it is a frequent rallying point for student demos and the like.

She also fancies herself as a writer. That last link is a mawkish poem from 2002 in clear support of Palestinian resistance. It's a very well constructed poem, I think, for the genre, but I tend to find the genre as a whole rather mawkish.

So I have a picture in my head, which could well  be wrong.

I'm imagining Ms Hsu in London in the autumn of 2003, perhaps having just finished her degree? or between jobs? Who knows. But she loves writing, she loves anything that supports the Palestinian cause, and she's evidently very political.

And I'm imagining Jamal Khashoggi in London in the autumn of 2003, having been persuaded that the Kingdom needs decent PR abroad, starts thinking that well-educated, Westernised and assertive women are just about the exact opposite of what people associate with Saudi Arabia. So who better to convey the message that the Kingdom is actually a great place?

Did you know that Ms. Hsu has published a book about the place?

My daydream is probably but a flight of fancy. Food for thought, though, eh?


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