The Tariq Ramadan Scandal and the #Balancetonporc Movement in France


The Tariq Ramadan Scandal and the #Balancetonporc Movement in France

by Adam Shatz

https://www.newyorker.com

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Professor Tariq Ramadan, 55, was said to have attacked Henda Ayari (pic above) after inviting her to his hotel room following a conference on Islam in Paris in 2012. The 40-year-old author, who spoke about the allegations on social media, claimed she had decided to “name and shame” Prof Ramadan as a “pervert guru” following the Harvey Weinstein scandal.–The Telegraph

Soon after the #MeToo movement formed in the United States, in response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal, #balancetonporc (“expose your pig”) erupted in France. The effect has been an unprecedented blow to what Sabrina Kassa has described, in Mediapart, as the “patriarchal belly” of a country where harassment and other sexual crimes have often been concealed, or explained away, by a Gallic rhetoric of flirtation and libertinism.

 

In 2008, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, was subjected to an internal I.M.F. inquiry over allegedly coercing a subordinate to have sex with him. Although he apologized for his “error of judgment,” he was celebrated in the French press as “the Great Seducer.” Had he not been arrested in New York, in 2011, on charges (which were eventually dropped) of assaulting Nafissatou Diallo, a maid, in the presidential suite of the Sofitel Hotel, Strauss-Kahn, a powerful figure in the Socialist Party, might have been elected President of France in 2012.

The #balancetonporc movement has exposed prominent men in business, entertainment, and media, but the most high-profile scandal has been that surrounding Tariq Ramadan, an Islamic scholar and activist whom several women have accused of rape and sexual abuse. (Ramadan has denied all allegations.)

Ramadan has been a controversial figure in France for more than two decades—a kind of projection screen, or Rorschach test, for national anxieties about the “Muslim question.” Like Strauss-Kahn, he has often been depicted as a seducer, but the description has not been meant as a compliment: he has long been accused of casting a dangerous spell on younger members of France’s Muslim population, thereby undermining their acceptance of French norms, particularly those pertaining to secularism, gender, and sexuality.

Born in 1962, in Switzerland, Ramadan is the son of Said Ramadan, an exiled Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader who was the son-in-law of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. Tariq Ramadan, who is not a member of the Brotherhood, is nonetheless a religious conservative—a “Salafi reformist,” in his words—who has long preached the virtues of female “modesty” in dress and sexual comportment. (His brother Hani Ramadan, the head of the Islamic Center in Geneva, is notorious for his support for stoning female adulterers, his hatred of homosexuals, and his belief that the attacks of 9/11 were a Western conspiracy.)

In the nineteen-nineties, Tariq Ramadan attracted a following among French Muslims, both in the banlieues and in the professional middle classes. His message was simple, revolutionary, and electrifying: Islam was already a part of France, and so Muslim citizens were under no obligation to choose between their identities. They could practice their faith freely, even strictly, and still be French, so long as they respected the country’s laws. French Muslims, he argued, should overcome their “victim mentality” and embrace both their faith and their Frenchness. By the same token, France should recognize that Islam is a French faith; Muslim citizens are scarcely in need of “assimilation” into a country to which they already belong, a paternalist notion with roots in France’s colonial history. He did not object to laïcité, the French code of secularism, but he argued that it was applied in discriminatory ways against Muslims, particularly when it came to the wearing of the foulard (head scarf), which was ultimately banned in public schools, in 2004.

Ramadan, with his elegantly trimmed beard, sports jackets, and open shirts, cut a charismatic, rather silken figure. (He is arguably the inspiration behind Mohamed Ben Abbes, the Muslim who becomes France’s President in Michel Houellebecq’s novel “Submission.”) A kind of Muslim Bernard-Henri Lévy, he appeared to be as fluent in the jargon of Parisian intellectualism as he was in that of the Quran. Although not of the left, Ramadan earned the respect of some of its most prestigious figures, including Edwy Plenel, the former editor-in-chief of Le Monde and the founder and publisher of Mediapart; Alain Gresh, the former editor of Le Monde Diplomatique; and the sociologist Edgar Morin. When Ramadan spoke, politicians and journalists, Muslim celebrities and shopkeepers, imams and anti-globalization activists listened. By the early two-thousands, he was juggling so many audiences that, as the Islam expert Bernard Godard, a former official in the Interior Ministry, said, he seemed to be at once “everywhere . . . and nowhere.”

Then, in 2003, at the height of his influence, Ramadan’s campaign to ingratiate himself with the French intelligentsia began to crumble. First, he provoked an uproar with an article accusing a group of prominent “Jewish” intellectuals—one of whom was not, in fact, a Jew—of abandoning universalist principles in their defense of Jewish and Israeli interests. The outrage was even louder when, during a televised debate with Nicolas Sarkozy, who was the Interior Minister at the time, he declared his support for a “moratorium,” but not a ban, on stoning women in cases of adultery. Ramadan made it clear that he was personally opposed to the practice, but, as a Muslim theologian, he explained, “You can’t decide on your own to be progressive without the communities; it’s too easy.”

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“Frère Tariq,” a book published in 2004  by  Caroline Fourest

In “Frère Tariq,” a book published in 2004, the journalist Caroline Fourest luridly portrayed Ramadan as an unreconstructed member of the Muslim Brotherhood who “plays on the weaknesses of democracy to advance a totalitarian political project.” Never mind that Ramadan had made no secret of his beliefs, even on the controversial matter of stoning; he was a practitioner of what Fourest called a “double discourse.” If he advocated respect for French law along with observance of Islam, this was further evidence of his malign intentions.

Since then, the French élite has come to regard Ramadan as a danger, inciting the restless, alienated Muslims of the banlieues to Islamization, or even jihadism. Ramadan has found it difficult to organize public meetings with his supporters in France; his attempt last year to apply for citizenship (his wife has French citizenship) was unsuccessful. In 2009, he took up a chair at Oxford—financed by the emirate of Qatar, through one of its foundations—and now spends much of his time in Doha, where he runs a government-subsidized center on Islamic law and ethics. These days, his interlocutors are more likely to be orthodox clerics in the Muslim world than European intellectuals.

Most French Muslims have either grown tired of his heavy-handed cult of personality or simply outgrown him. As for the jihadists of the Islamic State, with whom conspiracy theorists on the French right believe him to be in cahoots, they have condemned him as an apostate because of his belief in democracy.

Ramadan looked on his way to becoming a has-been—albeit one with two million fans on Facebook—when, on October 20th, a forty-year-old Muslim woman named Henda Ayari publicly accused him, among other things, of raping her in a Paris hotel room in 2012. Ayari, who has since received death threats, is a former Salafist who broke with Islam and became a devout feminist and secularist à la française. She is something of a heroine in the extreme-right circles of the fachosphère, where Islamophobia is a ticket of admission. (“Either you are veiled, or you are raped,” she has said of women’s condition in Islam.) Ayari’s political affiliations raised some eyebrows, but a week later, a woman identified as “Christelle,” a French convert to Islam, claimed that Ramadan raped her in a hotel room in 2009. Seven days later, new accusations surfaced, this time from three of Ramadan’s former students, who were between the ages of fifteen and eighteen when they were allegedly raped. According to numerous sources, the accounts are multiplying.

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Dr.Tariq Ramadan (center), Dr. Noam Chomsky and Author Karen Armstrong

And yet the Ramadan affair has never been simply about whether Ramadan committed the crimes for which he is charged, or even about the suffering he allegedly inflicted on his accusers. Ramadan, who has taken a leave of absence from Oxford, claims that he is the victim of a campaign of defamation. His closest supporters have raised cries of a Zionist conspiracy, a theory echoed by his fundamentalist brother Hani.

Ramadan’s adversaries in the French establishment have been quick to seize upon the accusations as an opportunity to discredit their own critics. On November 5th, Manuel Valls, who served as Interior Minister, and then Prime Minister, under President François Hollande, denounced Ramadan’s intellectual interlocutors as “complicit” in his alleged crimes. Valls, the son of Spanish immigrants, is a hard-line secularist who has helped make a home for anti-Muslim demagoguery, as well as anti-Roma prejudice, in the Socialist Party. (He has described the very concept of Islamophobia as the “Trojan horse” of Salafists.) As Prime Minister, he helped push through the temporary emergency measures proclaimed after the terrorist attacks in 2015, parts of which have now been written into law, and thus normalized, under President Emmanuel Macron.

Valls had never before expressed much concern for the victims of sex crimes by powerful men. In fact, he had deplored the “unbearable cruelty” of Strauss-Kahn’s arrest in New York. (A few members of the Socialist Party, including Strauss-Kahn himself, claimed that he was a victim of a plot engineered by President Sarkozy, who saw Strauss-Kahn as a threat to his reëlection. Sarkozy denied the allegations.) But in early October, Valls condemned the journalists at Mediapart as left-wing fellow-travellers of political Islam; later, he insinuated that Plenel had deliberately concealed what he knew about Ramadan’s sexual depravities. (Valls made no such public accusations against either Bernard Godard, who worked under his authority in the Interior Ministry, or Caroline Fourest, although both admitted that they had long been aware of rumors about Ramadan’s mistreatment of women.) It is perhaps no coincidence that Plenel, the president of Mediapart, had skewered Valls in his 2014 book, “Pour les musulmans,” an eloquent critique of Islamophobia in French public life, which was inspired by Émile Zola’s 1896 denunciation of anti-Semitism, “Pour les juifs.” In fact, Plenel was responsible for publishing a five-part profile of Ramadan, by Mathieu Magnaudeix, which portrayed him as an authoritarian, egotistical “showman” who “built his renown on a mix of bad buzz (him against the élite) and a seduction worthy of the best televangelists.”

Plenel insisted that he had known nothing of Ramadan’s misconduct, adding that one of the most thorough reports on what Mediapart has since called the “Ramadan system” of sexual abuse had appeared in Mediapart hardly a week after the scandal broke. But the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo soon recycled Valls’s charge against Plenel. Since the shooting at its offices, in January, 2015, Charlie Hebdo has acquired a halo of martyrdom, and “Je Suis Charlie” has become a motto almost as sacred as “liberté, egalité, fraternité.” At the same time, the magazine has become increasingly provocative in its mockery of anything to do with Muslims or Islam. The cover of the November 8th issue featured a grid of four caricatures of Plenel, under the headline “Ramadan affair, Mediapart Reveals: ‘We didn’t know.’ ” In the drawings he is covering his mouth, shielding his eyes, and plugging his ears—the three monkeys who don’t speak, see, or hear evil. (Charlie also published a cover on which Ramadan declares himself the “sixth pillar of Islam,” as an enormous erection bulges from his pants.) Within a couple of weeks, the Ramadan affair had morphed into the Plenel-Valls-Charlie affair: a debate less about Ramadan and his treatment of women than about French intellectuals, their relations with Ramadan, and their views of Islam in French life.

On Twitter, Plenel derided the caricature as an “affiche rouge,” an allusion to the notorious red poster distributed by the German occupiers in Paris, in 1944, as part of their efforts to vilify a group of resistance fighters as a “foreign conspiracy against French life.” Charlie’s front page, he argued, was an extension of “a general campaign . . . of war against Muslims” in France. In response, Laurent (Riss) Sourisseau, the editorial director of Charlie, accused Plenel of “condemning Charlie to death a second time.” To accuse Charlie of whipping up anti-Muslim hatred, as Plenel did, is to risk being accused of incitement, as Valls surely knew when, on November 15th, he declared, of Mediapart, “I want them to be removed from public debate.”

For many in France, Ramadan’s alleged guilt was not so much evidence of the prevalence of misogynistic behavior in France, or a betrayal of his religious obligations, as it was evidence that he was no different from other “Islamic obscurantists” who preach modesty to women while taking cruel advantage of them, as Sylvie Kauffmann, Le Monde’s editorial director, argued in an Op-Ed for the New York Times. This prism has a history as old as French colonialism. As Joan Wallach Scott argues in her new book, “Sex and Secularism,” the idea of the repressive yet lustful Muslim patriarch has long served to deflect attention from French society’s discrimination against women, just as Muslim women’s “purported state of abjection” has been held up as “the antithesis of whatever ‘equality’ means in the West.”

In recent years, Muslims in France have discovered that it is not enough to respect France’s laws: to truly belong to France, they must denounce bad Muslims, praise Charlie, and make other shows of loyalty, just as their ancestors in colonial North and West Africa learned to honor “our ancestors, the Gauls.”

The more French they have become, the more their Frenchness, their ability to “assimilate,” seems to be in question, which has deepened their sense of estrangement. Muslim organizations and institutions have largely refrained from commenting on the Ramadan scandal—a silence that, for some, has been an expression of solidarity with a fellow-Muslim who has long been vilified in France. Others who have been asked to comment publicly on the Ramadan affair have chosen to remain quiet as a result of their discomfort, or perhaps irritation, at being summoned to pass yet another litmus test to prove their worth as citizens, or at the “Islamization” of the affair, in which Ramadan is either viewed as a victim of an anti-Muslim conspiracy or as a symbol of Muslim sexual violence.

Lallab, a Muslim feminist association, was never asked to comment on #balancetonporc, but immediately fell under pressure from the media to respond to the accusations against Ramadan. It was, a spokesperson wrote, “as if we were Muslims before being women . . . As if we only had the legitimate right to denounce violence committed by other Muslims.”

Another product of this historical estrangement was the birth, in 2005, of the Parti des Indigènes de la République (the Party of the Indigenous People of the Republic), a groupuscule composed largely of activists of North and West African heritage who flaunt their alienation from French society as a badge of pride. The P.I.R. sees French Muslims and other people of color as internally colonized, eternally second-class citizens, and advocates a politics of separatism far more radical than Ramadan’s message of inclusion. Houria Bouteldja, the Party’s charismatic spokeswoman, has in recent years won notoriety for her defense of Muslim men accused of sexual violence. Faced with “testosterone-fuelled virility among indigenous men,” she has argued, women of color should look for its redeeming side, “the part that resists colonial domination,” and stand with their brothers. But the many accusations against “Brother Tariq” appear to have given even Bouteldja pause. In a terse and uncharacteristically restrained statement on Facebook, she warned against “racist instrumentalization of this affair” but also said that the court should decide “if the facts are true and if Henda Ayari is honest in her approach.”

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Desperately seeking cheap publicity

While most of the commentators on the Ramadan Affair have been—as tends to be the case with conversations about Islam, laïcité, and terrorism in France—white and male, some of the most important insights on the scandal have come from those Muslim feminists who are dismayed both by the prejudice of Valls and Charlie, and disappointed with Bouteldja’s seeming indifference to victims of abuse. For them, the scandal dramatizes the need for the kind of “intersectionality,” or understanding of the overlapping nature of racist and sexist oppression, that has been a part of feminist discourse in the U.S. since the late eighties. As Souad Betka wrote in an essay published in the online magazine Les Mots Sont Importants, “we Muslim feminists refuse to sacrifice the struggle against sexism and patriarchal violence to the fight against racism.” For several years, she wrote, Muslim feminist activists had told her of their ordeals with Ramadan’s “insults, manipulation, and sexual harassment.” But the anti-racism activist groups in which these women worked had chosen to ignore sexual violence perpetrated by “indigenous” men for fear of fanning French Islamophobia. It was little wonder that Muslim women like Henda Ayari were turning to writers like Caroline Fourest for “support that others, closer to them, have been too late in providing.” For much of French society, Betka wrote, “a Muslim man is always more than a man. He is the tree that represents the forest.” For Manuel Valls and Charlie Hebdo, Ramadan represents the threat of Islamic conquest; for Ramadan’s Muslim supporters, the umma itself. For those caught between Valls’s racist manipulation of Ramadan’s alleged crimes and his supporters’ denial of them, the most radical act is to insist that he is nothing but a man.

 

 

ASEAN and women: Dealing with Gender


October 6, 2017

ASEAN and women: Dealing with Gender

by Kelly Gerard

http://www.newmandala.org/asean-women-empower-movements-not-just-individuals/

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ASEAN countries are characterised by gender inequalities. With the exception of Lao PDR, women participate less than men in the workforce, with this gap greatest in the Philippines and Malaysia. Women are also far more likely than men to be in vulnerable employment across the region, and to be contributing unpaid labour to domestic work.

On political representation, all countries have far fewer women than men in parliament. All fail to meet the 30% threshold advised in the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Gendered inequalities are captured most intently in the region’s high levels of violence against women. Over 40% of women experience gender-based violence. UN Women reports that gender inequalities, and an entrenched acceptance of men’s power over women, foster an environment in which violence against women is accepted and normalised. Eliminating violence against women, then, requires tackling the drivers of gender inequalities, and this means action on a variety of different fronts.

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The ASEAN Economic Community, however, is projected to intensify these inequalities. It was signed into existence in December 2015, with the objective of building an integrated market in Southeast Asia, with 622 million people and an economy of US$2.6 trillion. But regulatory reforms to facilitate the cross-border movement of goods, services, labour and capital are anticipated to negatively impact women. With a gender-segmented labour market and inequalities in labour market participation rates and the care economy, women are to be excluded from those sectors that are projected to grow.

A report published by the ASEAN Secretariat has consequently called for “targeted interventions”, and women’s empowerment has received support from ASEAN and beyond. Even President Duterte—who told soldiers they could rape women with impunity in the conflict against IS in Marawi—has noted the importance of this agenda in ASEAN.

ASEAN’s support for empowering women is characteristic of its broader reform since the late 1990s, after decades of being known as a “club of dictators”. Policymakers committed to the rule of law, democracy, and human rights, enshrined in pivotal agreements such as the ASEAN Charter. These commitments raise questions, given the tactics employed by both authoritarian and post-authoritarian regimes to silence dissent.

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The main agency for tackling gender inequalities is the ASEAN Commission on Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), established in 2010. It brings together representatives from diverse backgrounds to negotiate regional standards and norms on women’s and children’s rights.

But this network has key flaws. It has been established as a ‘Commission’ rather than a ‘Committee’, meaning its representatives do not necessarily have the capacity to influence domestic policy. The lack of clarity in its relationships with related networks, notably the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, has created challenges in defining distinct work plans and activities. Finally, the bundling of women’s and children’s rights is a highly paternalistic approach, with these issues requiring distinct policy responses. So while gender equality has received support within ASEAN, the key agency for this issue is constrained from doing so.

Support for tackling gender inequalities has also come from donors, development institutions, and companies. For example, the Japan ASEAN Women Empowerment Fund was established in 2016 by Japanese aid agencies and Blue Orchard, a microfinance intermediary, to invest US$120 million in “female micro entrepreneurs”.

Like women’s empowerment initiatives across the globe, the focus has been on increasing women’s market competitiveness. This is captured in the majority of projects focusing on women’s economic empowerment, and within this sphere, access to markets, finance, skills training, and business development services.

Seeking to economically empower women by improving their ability to compete in markets is problematic. It reflects an understanding of markets as neutral spaces, overlooking how markets can exacerbate inequalities and reproduce patterns of exclusion or discrimination. There is also only limited evidence indicating that dominant project types do economically empower women.

Finally, by promoting individualising measures to address structural challenges, these projects fail to address the complex interplay of institutional, cultural, economic and political factors through which women are discriminated against in workplaces, in politics, in public life, and in the home. These may be explicit, such as divorce laws that are gender-biased. They may also be implicit, where institutions are gender-neutral on paper but gender-biased in practice—such as the Indonesian government subjecting female police recruits to virginity tests to apparently ensure the morality of applicants.

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Tackling gender inequalities requires collective responses. Women’s empowerment projects could do this by building movements for gender equality, rather than shifting the burden onto individual women. For example, seeking to build alliances—such as between women’s groups and trade unions—would reframe the high number of women in vulnerable employment as connected to poor working conditions, and drive targeted policy responses.

Much potential lies in the increased funding for women’s empowerment in Southeast Asia. Moreover, support from ASEAN has created a crucial leverage point for advocacy, while its reorganisation has established new spaces for advancing gender equality. The challenge now is developing holistic, and effective, approaches to women’s empowerment: substantively empowering women by building collective responses to eliminating discriminatory structures and practices.

Dr Kelly Gerard is a senior lecturer at the University of Western Australia. Her research has focused on the political economy of development policy in Southeast Asia, specifically civil society organisations’ attempts to shape the ASEAN Economic Community.

This post is based on the content of her keynote speech at the 2017 ASEAN forum hosted by the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre at the University of Sydney.

 

Book Review and Commentary: Hillary’s What Happened


September 14, 2017

Book Review and Commentary: Hillary’s What Happened

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She talks about Trump, Comey, Collusion, “Deplorables”and Power of Sexism

The cover of the magazine’s post-election issue, had Clinton won. “I felt that I had let everyone down,” she recalls. “Because I had.”–Illustration by Malika Favre

Hillary Rodham Clinton, who, as she puts it, won “more votes for President than any white man” in American history, is not the first candidate to capture the popular vote but lose the election. She is the fifth. The Founders, for varying reasons, distrusted popular democracy. Southerners were wary of a challenge to slavery; others feared the emergence of a national demagogue. The Electoral College, Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist Paper No. 68, would block the rise of a leader with “talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity.” An extra layer of electoral deliberation, he thought, would also insulate the American system from a hostile hack from abroad—“the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.”

Andrew Jackson was the first to suffer this constitutionally enabled result of losing-while-winning, when he conceded the 1824 race to John Quincy Adams. Jackson, whose portrait now hangs in the Oval Office, charged that he had been undone by a rigged ballot. In 1888, Grover Cleveland lost in much the same manner to Benjamin Harrison, but then avenged his humbling four years later. Samuel Tilden fell to Rutherford B. Hayes, in 1876; and yet, after the baroque, months-long struggle inside the Electoral College, Tilden seemed almost relieved. Now, he said, “I can retire to private life with the consciousness that I shall receive from posterity the credit of having been elected to the highest position in the gift of the people, without any of the cares and responsibilities of the office.”

In the ballot of 2000, Albert Gore, Jr., Bill Clinton’s Vice-President for eight years, won half a million more votes than the governor of Texas, George W. Bush. After losing the final battle before the Supreme Court, Gore soon departed Washington to brood in Nashville. He grew a beard. He grew fat. He seemed, at first, quite lost. When I visited him there, a few years later, he said he would eventually get around to confronting that bitter experience, just not yet. He never fully did so, certainly not at book length. Instead, with time, he shaved his beard, traveled the world giving lectures and making a documentary about climate change, and, in 2007, shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He made a fortune as an Apple director, a Google adviser, and a venture-capital partner. He found his way. And whenever someone brought up the election of 2000 he always remembered to lighten matters, saying, “You win some, you lose some, and then there’s that little-known third category.”

For all of Hillary Clinton’s skills of survival, she will have a hard time finding a similar peace or place in public affairs. For one thing, Gore was in his early fifties when he lost. Clinton is sixty-nine. For another, the circumstances surrounding her defeat are immensely more disturbing. Clinton lost a race that few thought possible to lose. Her opponent was not Mitt Romney or John McCain or Marco Rubio but Donald J. Trump, a demonstrably crooked businessman and reality-television star, an unsavory, if shrewd, demagogue whose rhetoric and policy proposals had long flouted the constitutional norms of the United States.

She lost because of the tactical blunders of her campaign. She lost because she could never find a language, a thematic focus, or a campaigning persona that could convince enough struggling working Americans that she, and not a cartoonish plutocrat, was their champion. She lost because of the forces of racism, misogyny, and nativism that Trump expertly aroused. And she lost because of external forces (Vladimir Putin, Julian Assange, James Comey) that were beyond her control and are not yet fully understood.

“There are times when all I want to do is scream into a pillow,” Clinton admits in a raw memoir, both apologetic and apoplectic, called “What Happened.” Clinton describes the daily activity of working on the book with her collaborators, two former speechwriters and a researcher, as “cathartic.” They spent long sessions at her house talking through the details of the campaign, exchanging notes, suggestions, edits. But, as Clinton said when we met recently for a long conversation, the process of thinking about it all—Trump looming over her like a predator at the second debate, the incessant drumbeat of “e-mails, e-mails, e-mails,” awaking from a nap on Election Night and being told that Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and the election itself had all slipped away—was like willfully reënacting a hideous accident. “Literally, at times when I was writing it, I had to go lie down,” she said. “I just couldn’t bear to relive it.”

But, against the advice of some of those closest to her, she has relived it, for publication. Clinton’s memoir radiates with fury at the forces and the figures ranged against her, but it is also salted with self-searching, grief, bitterness, and fitful attempts to channel and contain that fury. At one point, she writes, “Breathe out. Scream later.” On the night of November 8th, Clinton expected to give a victory speech at the Javits Center, in Manhattan, as the first female President-elect. The stagecraft was in place: she would wear white—“the color of the suffragettes,” the fulfillment of Seneca Falls—and stand on a platform cut into the shape of the United States, under a vast glass ceiling. It was to be a triumph on a historic scale, an American breakthrough as consequential as Barack Obama’s Election Night speech in 2008, at Grant Park. Instead, the next morning, she wore purple, a symbol of the unity of red and blue states, and, before hundreds of shocked, weeping staffers, she made her way through a hastily drafted message of endurance and gratitude. Afterward, she and Bill Clinton climbed into their car and, as they were driven along the Hudson River, she was hollowed out, unable to speak, struggling to breathe: “At every step I felt that I had let everyone down. Because I had.”

When Clinton arrived home, she changed into yoga pants and a fleece and wandered outside. She lives on a cul-de-sac called Old House Lane, in Chappaqua, a wooded hamlet in Westchester County. The property is surrounded by a high white fence. Secret Service officers operate out of a red barn in the back yard. It was cold, rainy, quiet, and, she writes, “the question blaring in my head was, ‘How did this happen?’ ”

Before I went to see Clinton, I spoke with some of her top advisers in the campaign. Some still work with her; others stay in close touch, commiserating, exchanging links to stories about Trump-related outrages or malfeasances. They share a sense of colossal failure—of having failed Clinton, and, more, of having failed the country. They know that she, too, carries a sense of both victimhood and guilt. “There is an exponential quality to the pain she feels,” one of them told me. “It’s the pain of losing an election that you thought you were going to win. And it’s taken to the nth power. It’s squared by the fact that this is the second time she has fallen short, and cubed by the fact that the person who won is so deeply unworthy, in her view, and represents a mortal threat to American greatness. There is in her a depth of anguish about the outcome that there is no parallel for in modern memory.”

In the first months after Trump’s victory, Clinton kept mainly out of the public eye. She didn’t want to hear the theories about why her campaign had given America a Trump Presidency; she could not handle easily the gestures of sympathy. She listened with a tight, patient smile as people recommended Xanax and gave her the names of their marvellous therapists. Friends always hastened to praise Clinton for her determination to “keep going,” but they uniformly described her now as angry, confused, bitter, and sad. How did she get from day to day? “Chardonnay helped,” she told me. (It’s become a stock line for her book tour.) She also practiced a form of yoga that involves “alternate-nostril breathing.” That someone might leap on her prescription of white wine and yoga as a parody of blue-state self-care is, in her post-candidate life, irrelevant.

Clinton spent a lot of time around the house. She read Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels of friendship, becoming, and abandonment. She returned to the work of Henri Nouwen, a Dutch-born priest and theologian who wrote about his struggles with depression, spirituality, and loneliness. She consumed mystery novels: Louise Penny, Donna Leon, Charles Todd. She went to her granddaughter’s dance recital. She watched old episodes of “The Good Wife” and “Madam Secretary,” even if that seemed a little on the nose. She teared up watching Kate McKinnon on “Saturday Night Live” singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” (“I did my best, it wasn’t much . . .”) She went through scores of articles about Russian meddling, offshore “content farms,” Trump-family misadventures. “At times,” she writes, “I felt like C.I.A. agent Carrie Mathison on the TV show Homeland, desperately trying to get her arms around a sinister conspiracy and appearing more than a little frantic in the process.” She also spent time thinking about what she might do in the future, “so that the rest of my life wouldn’t be spent like Miss Havisham from Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, rattling around my house obsessing over what might have been.” She has yet to settle on anything concrete, save for the conviction that she will never run for office again.

In her concession speech, Clinton had, like Gore before her, gestured to the need for national unity. She mouthed the requisite words of conciliation. (“Donald Trump is going to be our President. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power.”) But as I sat down with her in a bare conference room in her office on West Forty-fifth Street—a room so drained of decoration that it seemed like a stage set for a production of “Endgame”—she made it plain that, after eight months of Trump’s Presidency, she was through with political politesse. Although her press person had told me that Clinton did not want to be photographed—she writes a long passage in the book about the trials of daily sessions with hairdressers and makeup artists, and all that is required of women in public office to achieve the gloss expected of them—she entered the room looking much as she had throughout the campaign. Still, there was a heaviness to her manner, a kind of grim determination to get a message across, one last time.

“I think the President and his Administration pose a clear and present danger to our democracy,” she said. “I hoped, back on the day after that election, that I wouldn’t be sitting here, all these months later, feeling compelled to say that with a sense of urgency. But I am, and I do.”

Trump, Clinton went on, “is immature, with poor impulse control; unqualified for the position that he holds; reactive, not proactive; not strategic, either at home or on the world stage. And I think he is unpredictable, which, at the end of the description one can give of him, makes him dangerous. The latest incident with North Korea? Going after our ally, South Korea, while North Korea is threatening the region, threatening us? Going after China, which we need, whether we like it or not, to help us try to resolve the aggressive behavior of Kim Jong Un? It puts a smile on Kim’s face. Just like him going after NATO and the Atlantic alliance puts a smile on Putin’s face. He admires authoritarians. In fact, before this crisis with North Korea, he was praising Kim Jong Un. He clearly has a bromance toward Putin, whom he lauds as a great leader. He’s being played by the Putins and the Kim Jong Uns of the world. I’m not even sure he’s aware of that. Because he has such a limited understanding of the world. Everything is in relation to how it makes him feel. And therefore he has little objective distance, which a leader must have. Making decisions in the Oval Office requires a level of dispassionate, reasoned analysis. We’ve seen no evidence he’s capable of that.”

Diplomacy in the Trump Administration, Clinton said, has become the work of generals, particularly James Mattis, who is “both Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State, as far as I can tell.” She didn’t speak critically of Rex Tillerson, but the former Secretary of State said, “There are no diplomats at home. There are no China experts. I don’t know who is left in the government at any level of experience and seniority who could be brought into the kind of diplomatic effort that I would advocate for. You should have an envoy that carries the imprimatur of the President in Korea right now, shuttling between Tokyo and Seoul and Beijing, and trying to figure out what is the best way forward here.”

In all, with Putin behaving like “a Bond villain,” the country on alert against a nuclear North Korea, and the Oval Office occupied by a reality-TV personality, Clinton seemed to feel that a line had been crossed; the country had fallen into a perilous state of unreality.

“It’s like a bad movie,” she said. “You can’t believe anybody would ever green-light it, and all of a sudden it happens.”

“What Happened” was a No. 1 best-seller on Amazon well before its publication, on September 12. This is not surprising. Of the more than sixty-five million people who voted for Clinton, and who now feel miserable about the Trump Presidency, not a few want to hear from her again, and gain some consolation from her story, if only to speculate about a through-the-looking-glass world in which she is in the White House, Merrick Garland is on the Supreme Court, and Trump is ranting about “illegals” in a studio at Fox News. Clinton’s previous books—“It Takes a Village,” “Dear Socks, Dear Buddy,” “Living History,” “Hard Choices”—were more brand burnishment than human expression; they were performances of virtue or anecdotal enumerations of her travels and accomplishments before an upcoming campaign, everything rendered in cautious, sometimes disingenuous, market-tested prose. Such books belong to a well-established tradition. “Living History,” published during her first term in the U.S. Senate, is an evasive, soft-focus memoir. It attempts, for example, to portray her father—a frustrated, angry, and often frightening man—as an ultimately lovable curmudgeon. “Hard Choices,” her chronicle of her years at the State Department, possesses all the flavor and the nutritional value of a breakfast bowl of packing peanuts and warm water.

“What Happened,” though hardly an Augustinian confession, is much closer to the bone than anything Clinton has ever published. She knows that the voice of the vanquished isn’t always welcome, but she remains defiant: “There were plenty of people hoping that I, too, would just disappear,” she acknowledges. “But here I am.”

The wounds that the new book opens are not just Clinton’s. A few nights before meeting with her, I was at dinner with a political professional who worked on her 2008 campaign. I mentioned that I was going to interview Clinton, and sought his advice about what I should ask. He put down his fork and scowled. “Ask her why she blew the biggest slam dunk in the history of fucking American politics!” he said. A few diners at adjacent tables looked up. “Oh, and ask her if she is going to donate the millions of dollars she’s gonna make on this book to charity. Ask her: Why should you profit from this disaster?” There was more of this.

On the day I was to see Clinton, I read an article in Politico headlined “Democrats Dread Hillary’s Book Tour.” Unnamed “alums” from her Brooklyn campaign headquarters told the reporters that the promotion of “What Happened” was “the final torture.” Others joked about how many stops she’d make in Wisconsin in her campaign to sell books. A top Democratic donor said that Clinton “should just zip it, but she’s not going to.” Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, was asked about the book; she replied, “Beg your pardon?,” and walked away. Her colleague from Oregon, Ron Wyden, said, “I’ve always been a looking-forward kind of guy. I think I’ll leave it at that.”

Before publication day, a passage from the book leaked in which Clinton criticizes Bernie Sanders for giving Trump an opening by slashing away at her integrity during the primary campaign. When he was asked about the book by Stephen Colbert, on “The Late Show,” Sanders, who wrote of his own experiences in the 2016 race in a book he published last November, did not miss his cue. “Look, Secretary Clinton ran against the most unpopular candidate in the history of this country and she lost. She’s upset about that and I understand that,” he said. “But our job now is not to go backwards, it is to go forwards. . . . I think it’s a little bit silly to keep talkin’ about 2016.” The bitterness of that primary race will not soon fade. Sanders saw Clinton as a clueless, corrupt, temporizing, buckraking member of the neoliberal élite; she saw him as unserious about the details of policy, reckless, self-righteous, swept up in his own sense of ideological purity, and “not a Democrat.”

Even some of the people closest to Clinton are wary of the book and the inevitable blowback it will invite. “If she carried a cross and were bleeding on the street, that would not be enough apology for some people,” one adviser told me. According to a recent NBC News poll, Clinton’s favorability rating is now at thirty per cent, the nadir of her public life. This is not a country that countenances losers, it seems, no matter what the popular vote, no matter how badly the rules have been broken, no matter how pernicious the victor. To type “Hillary Clinton” and watch Twitter light up in an efflorescence of insult and wild accusation is an alarming experience. She has been a target of unholy abuse from the start. In 1980, her husband lost the Arkansas governorship after his first term in part because, many voters said, she had the temerity to go by Hillary Rodham. (She soon added Clinton.) Once the Clintons were in the White House, everyone from Rush Limbaugh to Pat Robertson, from Christopher Hitchens to the editorial writers of the Wall Street Journal, accused her of heinous crimes: drug running, financial fraud, shadowy doings around the death of Vince Foster. Trump was able to revive many of those old tropes and, through his speeches and tweets and the amplifying force of his incessantly televised rallies, once more cast Clinton as Lady Macbeth.

When I told Clinton that I had looked her up that morning on Twitter, she smiled knowingly and said, “A dangerous thing to do!” She knew all too well what was there, and it wasn’t merely the usual filth about her appearance or her marriage. It was the kind of material that allowed men like Trump, Michael Flynn, and Chris Christie to get in front of roaring crowds and inspire chants of “Lock her up!”

I’ve thought a lot about this,” Clinton told me. “And for whatever combination of reasons—some I think I understand, and others I don’t—I am viewed as a threat to powerful forces on both the right and the left. I am still one of the favorite subjects for Fox TV. With the return of [Steve] Bannon to Breitbart, we’ll see him utilizing that publication. It’s because I do speak out, and I do stand up. Sometimes, you know, what I say is not fully appreciated for years, to be honest. At least, it seems to me that way. But I’m going to continue to speak out. And on the left—there is a real manipulation of the left. In addition to those who are calling me names, we know that Russia has really targeted, through their trolls and bots, a lot of accounts—a lot of Twitter accounts, Facebook accounts, of people on the left—feeding them a steady diet of nonsense.”

Such talk was not a matter of wishful conspiracy thinking. Scott Shane, of the Times, recently published an article in which he, with the help of the cybersecurity firm FireEye, detailed the Russian efforts against Clinton in the campaign, far beyond the hack of the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta’s e-mail accounts. Shane reported that a “cyberarmy” of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of bloggers and bots with fake American identities spread disinformation about Clinton on various platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.

These tactics, Clinton told me, were “right out of the playbook of Putin and one of the generals whom he listens to, who talked about the kind of war planning and preparation that Russia needed to be engaged in. It was no longer just large, conventional forces and nuclear warheads—it was also cyberwar, covert and semi-covert, even overt, as we saw in Ukraine. This attack on our electoral system was at least publicly encouraged by Trump and his campaign. I hope the investigation in the Congress and by [Robert] Mueller, as well, will give us more information and understanding of what else they really did to us. It’s not going away.”

I asked Clinton if she thought Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russians. “I don’t want to overstate what we already know publicly, but I think the compilation of coincidence adds up to something more than public support,” she said, referring to Trump’s refusal to criticize Putin (“Why should I tell Putin what to do?”) and his encouragement of Julian Assange (“I love WikiLeaks!”).

She went on, “The latest disclosure by Facebook about the targeting of attack ads, negative stories, dovetails with my concern that there had to be some information provided to the Russians by someone as to how best to weaponize the information that they stole, first from the Democratic Committee, then from John Podesta. And the refusal of the Trump Administration officials, both current and former, to admit to their involvements with Russians raises a lot of unanswered questions.” Putin’s motives, she said, went well beyond destabilizing a particular campaign. “Putin wants to undermine democracy, to undermine the Atlantic alliance, to undermine the E.U., to undermine NATO, and to resurrect Russian influence as much as possible beyond the borders,” she said. “So the stakes are huge here.”

If, as Clinton told me, the Russians had deployed a “new form of warfare” to upend American democratic processes, what should President Obama have done in the closing act of the campaign? At a summit in China, Obama told Putin to back off from any election tampering, and he talked about the issue at a press conference. But he did not raise the stakes. Figuring that Clinton would win, Obama was wary of being seen as tipping the election to her and confirming Trump’s constant assertions that the vote was rigged against him. When the C.I.A. first told Obama, in August, that the Russians had been meddling in the Presidential race, the agency shared the information with the Gang of Eight—the congressional leadership and the chairs and the ranking members of the intelligence committees. The Administration asked for a bipartisan statement of warning. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, adamantly refused, muffling for weeks any sense of national alarm.

“I feel we sort of choked,” one senior Obama Administration official told the Washington Post. Another former Administration official said that national-security people were feeling, “Wow, did we mishandle this.” Clinton, in her book, gingerly “wonders” what the effect might have been had Obama gone on national television in the fall of 2016 “warning that our democracy was under attack.” I asked her whether Obama had failed—whether the issue should have been treated less as a narrowcasted political problem and more as a grave national-security threat.

“Well, I think that I’m very understanding of the position he found himself in,” she said. “Because I’ve been in that Situation Room, I know how hard these calls can be. And I believe that they struggled with this, and they were facing some pretty difficult headwinds.” She was less restrained in her description of the Senate Majority Leader’s behavior. “Mitch McConnell, in what I think of as a not only unpatriotic but despicable act of partisan politics, made it clear that if the Obama Administration spoke publicly about what they knew, he would accuse them of partisan politics, of trying to tip the balance toward me,” she said. “McConnell basically threatened the White House, and I know that was on the President’s mind. It was a predicament for him.” She also lambasted James Comey, the former F.B.I. director, who “refused to publicly acknowledge that there was an investigation, and, with the height of irony, said, ‘Well, you can’t do that so close to the election.’ ” (Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the investigation had not progressed to the point where disclosure would have been appropriate.)

All the same, I asked, did President Obama blow it? Clinton paused, and spoke very carefully: “I would have, in retrospect now, wished that he had said something, because I think the American people deserved to know.”

In “What Happened,” Clinton, by way of demanding national resolve against a Russian threat, quotes a maxim attributed to Vladimir Lenin: “You take a bayonet and you push. If you hit mush, you keep going; if you hit steel, you stop.”

“Were we mush?” I asked about the Obama Administration’s response.

Now she did not hesitate. “I think we were mushy,” she said. “Partly because we couldn’t believe it. Richard Clarke, who is one of our nation’s experts on terrorism, has written a book about Cassandras,” unheeded predictors of calamity. “And there was a collective Cassandra out there—my campaign was part of that—saying, ‘The Russians are in our electoral system, the Russians are weaponizing information, look at it!’ And everybody in the press basically thought we were overstating, exaggerating, making it up. And Comey wouldn’t confirm an investigation, so there was nothing to hold on to. And I think that the point Clarke makes is when you have an initial occurrence that has never happened before, some people might see it and try to warn about it, but most people would find it unlikely, impossible. And what I fear is we still haven’t gotten to the bottom of what the Russians did.”

Surprisingly, Clinton and her advisers believe that the most dramatic day of the campaign, October 7, the day of the “Access Hollywood” tape, was a disaster for them. Early that day, the director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Homeland Security released a statement concluding that the Russians had been attempting to interfere in the U.S. election process. But when, shortly afterward, the Washington Post released the tape—in which Donald Trump describes how he grabs women by the genitals and moves on them “like a bitch”—the D.H.S. statement was eclipsed. “My heart sank,” Jennifer Palmieri, a top Clinton adviser, recalled. “My first reaction was ‘No! Focus on the intelligence statement!’ The ‘Access Hollywood’ tape was not good for Trump, obviously, but it was more likely to hurt him with the people who were already against him. His supporters had made their peace with his awful behavior.”

That evening, a third media vortex formed, as Julian Assange went to work. WikiLeaks began to dole out a new tranche of stolen e-mails. “It seemed clear to us that the Russians were again being guided by our politics,” Clinton said. “Someone was offering very astute political advice about how to weaponize information, how to convey it, how to use the existing Russian outlets, like RT or Sputnik, how to use existing American vehicles, like Facebook.”

Clinton has little doubt that Assange was working with the Russians. “I think he is part nihilist, part anarchist, part exhibitionist, part opportunist, who is either actually on the payroll of the Kremlin or in some way supporting their propaganda objectives, because of his resentment toward the United States, toward Europe,” she said. “He’s like a lot of the voices that we’re hearing now, which are expressing appreciation for the macho authoritarianism of a Putin. And they claim to be acting in furtherance of transparency, except they never go after the Kremlin or people on that side of the political ledger.” She said she put Assange and Edward Snowden, who leaked extensive details of N.S.A. surveillance programs, “in the same bucket—they both end up serving the strategic goals of Putin.” She said that, despite Snowden’s insistence that he remains an independent actor, it was “no accident he ended up in Moscow.”

In assessing all the reasons she was defeated last November, Clinton believes that the critical factor was not her failures of tactics or rhetoric, not her misreading of the national Zeitgeist, not her inability to put her e-mail-server blunder to rest, and not even the manipulations of foreign cyberwarriors. The critical factor, in her view, was “the Comey letter”—James Comey’s announcement, eleven days before the election, that the F.B.I. had, in the course of a criminal investigation of the former congressman Anthony Weiner, discovered a cache of e-mails from her that required further study. This revived the e-mail issue that had plagued the campaign from the day in March, 2015, when the Times broke the story that Clinton, while Secretary of State, had maintained a private server and merged her personal and professional accounts. The polling expert Nate Silver concluded, “Clinton would almost certainly be President-Elect if the election had been held on October 27,” the day before Comey released his letter. Silver’s analysis was that Comey’s announcement led to a three-point plunge for Clinton, reducing her chances of winning from eighty-one per cent to sixty-five. Moreover, Silver said, had it not been for the Comey letter and the WikiLeaks publication of stolen e-mails, Clinton would have taken Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Florida. In the end, she lost Florida by 1.2 points, and the others by less than a point

Clinton talked about the spike in Google searches about WikiLeaks which had been spurred by the Comey letter—particularly in Pennsylvania, “where maybe Obama had squeaked out a win in a town or a county.” “That’s when the bottom fell out,” she said. “Particularly with women in the suburbs of Philadelphia and elsewhere, who thought, Well, that’s it, I wanted to vote for her, I was fighting with my husband, with my son, with my employer, and I told them I was going to vote for her, but they’re right, she’s going to jail, we’re gonna lock her up, I can’t vote for her.”

Time and investigation will tell whether Donald Trump or his surrogates colluded in any foreign interference in the election; what is entirely clear is that he was, with his penchant for exploiting an enemy’s weakness, eager to add weight to the heavy baggage that Clinton, after thirty-five years in public life, carried into the campaign. Trump, who lives in gilded penthouses and palaces, who flies in planes and helicopters emblazoned with his name, who does business with mobsters, campaigned in 2016 by saying that he spoke for the working man, that he alone heard them and felt their anger, and by branding Hillary Clinton an “élitist,” out of touch with her country. The irony is as easy as it is enormous, and yet Clinton made it possible. She practically kicked off her campaign by telling Diane Sawyer that the reason she and her husband cashed in on the lecture circuit on such an epic scale was that, when they left the White House, in 2001, they were “dead broke.” As earnestly as she has worked on behalf of women, the disadvantaged, and many other constituencies, Clinton does not, for many people, radiate a sense of empathy. A resident of a bubble of power since her days in the Arkansas governor’s mansion, she makes it hard even for many supporters to imagine that her feet ever touch the ground. In “What Happened,” she describes how, when considering whether to run again in 2016, she had to consider all her negatives—“Clinton fatigue,” the dynastic question, her age, the accumulated distrust between her and the press—and then says that she completed the deliberative process by going to stay with Oscar and Annette de la Renta at Casa de Campo, their retreat in the Dominican Republic. “We swam, we ate good food, and thought about the future. By the time we got back, I was ready to run.” This is perhaps not a universally relatable anecdote. Nor did she see much wrong with giving twenty-odd million dollars’ worth of speeches, including to Goldman Sachs and other financial institutions, conceding only that it was, in hindsight, bad “optics.” (“I didn’t think many Americans would believe that I’d sell a lifetime of principle and advocacy for any price,” she writes. “That’s on me.”)

In 2012, Obama won over many working-class voters in the Midwest and elsewhere by reminding them that he had saved the automobile industry and, through strokes broad and subtle, by painting Mitt Romney as the heartless boss who would have handed out the pink slips. Despite Trump’s wealth and his televised role as a big shot who took glee in firing people, “Hillary somehow got portrayed the way Romney did,” a close adviser to Clinton told me. “Those people felt she was against them. It was super gendered and classist. It’s hugely complicated, but she was the uppity woman. . . . Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump drove the message that ‘she looks down on you.’ The ‘deplorable’ thing was awful, but she was losing those people hard by then.”

Clinton’s relation to the press has always been vexed. In the book, Clinton singles out the Times for hammering away at her e-mail issue in a way that she says overwhelmed any negative coverage of Trump. “The Times covered her like she was a Mafia figure,” one adviser said.

This dynamic has a long history. It was the Times that, during the 1992 Presidential campaign, initially broached the Whitewater story—a saga of relatively modest indiscretions and misdeeds. In the White House, the Clintons responded to further inquiries with defensiveness and stubborn resistance, which reinforced suspicion in the press, and the cycle led to conspiracy thinking all around. This cycle of mutual mistrust has continued on and off since then. It was not long before reporters, many of them broadly sympathetic to left-of-center politics, came to view the Clintons with weary skepticism. For other pundits, Hillary Clinton, in particular, came off as sanctimonious, with her New Age homilies about “the politics of meaning.” The Clintons, in turn, came to see the press as the enemy.

In 1993, I was invited to a White House dinner for about fifty people. The Clintons evidently wanted to reëstablish some rapport with the press. I was seated next to Hillary. For much of the dinner, she complained about “Saint Hillary,” a caustic profile, by Michael Kelly, published in the Times Magazine. Kelly saw Clinton as a self-righteous First Lady who thought she could help concoct a “unified-field theory of life” that encompassed the social gospel of the nineteenth century, the “temperance-minded Methodism” of the twentieth century, the liberation theology of the sixties and seventies, and “the pacifistic and multiculturally correct religious left of today.” Kelly sternly concluded that Clinton “clearly wants power” and had “amassed more of it than any First Lady since Eleanor Roosevelt.”

From those days onward, Clinton has known that she inspired hostility. Twenty-one years ago, in an article for this magazine called “Hating Hillary,” by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., she admitted, “I apparently remind some people of their mother-in-law or their boss, or something.” In the same piece, Arianna Huffington remarks on Clinton’s “self-righteousness,” Peggy Noonan on her “apple-cheeked certitude.” Gates observed that Clinton was widely perceived as Mrs. Jellyby, the character in Charles Dickens’s “Bleak House” who is as “intent on improving humanity as she is cavalier toward actual human beings . . . the zealous reformer with a heart as big as all Antarctica.”

Such ingrained habits of media antagonism proved to be another factor that allowed Trump, the biggest liar in the history of Presidential politics, to be seen by tens of millions of people as a figure of rude authenticity, their champion. In Clinton’s view, she could never win with people who had been trained to regard her as a high-minded phony. Her wariness and evasions drained their sympathy; her strained attempts to win people back too often fell flat. Why couldn’t she be admired for her intelligence, her competence, her experience?

In “What Happened,” she voices her sense of exasperation:

I’ll bet you know more about my private life than you do about some of your closest friends. You’ve read my e-mails, for heaven’s sake. What more do you need? What could I do to be “more real”? Dance on a table? Swear a blue streak? Break down sobbing? That’s not me. And if I had done any of those things, what would have happened? I’d have been ripped to pieces.

She acknowledges that her caution had sometimes made her seem guarded (and “prompted the question, ‘What is she hiding?’ ”), but she notes that many men in politics, though far less scrutinized, aren’t asked to “open up, reveal themselves, prove that they’re real.”

 

Clinton has come to believe that there is an overriding reason that she has aroused such resentment: her gender. In the book, she points out that both Bill Clinton, as the fatherless son from “a town called Hope,” and Barack Obama, as the son of a Kenyan father and a white idealist, had capsule life stories that helped them reach voters. Clinton was the first woman to have a serious chance to win the Presidency, but “I was unlikely to be seen as a transformative, revolutionary figure. I had been on the national stage too long for that and my temperament was too even-keeled.”

When I asked about this, I pointed out that her popularity was always high when she ran something—when she was Secretary of State, her approval rating was nearly seventy per cent—but suffered when she ran for things.

“I was running something in service to someone else,” she told me. “A man. Who I was honored to serve. And so I knew that if I did get into the Presidential race again I would face what women face when you are not serving someone, but you are seeking power yourself.”

Clinton said that she has learned from life, as well as from studies and from conversations with the likes of Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, that “the more successful a man becomes, the more likable he becomes; the more professionally successful a woman becomes, the less likable she becomes.” Her situation, she said, “was Clinton-specific, plus sexism and misogyny.”

But why, when half the voters are female, should gender prove an even greater barrier in American electoral politics than race? I mentioned other countries that have female heads of state, including Great Britain and Germany.

“I think part of it is our system,” she said. “And we don’t yet have that audience. I hope it will change, especially for young women. We have a Presidential system. We have one person—head of state, head of government. Most of the places you mention have a different head of state, to carry on all of the symbolic continuity, whether it’s the crown or the nation, and the head of government is charged with the responsibility of being a political leader. . . . Parliamentary systems, historically, have proven more open to women. And why would that be? Because you have a party apparatus to support you. You can build relationships and a good sense of competence with your fellow party members. And they can see how effective you are and elect you leader. But you only have to run in your constituency, which is a much smaller and more defined—and, in many ways, open—opportunity to build personal relationships with those who are in your constituency. You know, when I ran for the Senate the first time, here in New York, I won, I think, fifteen counties. Next time I ran, I won all but three.” Close: all but four. “Because I could build that personal relationship, I could produce results, I could demonstrate that I was fighting for the people of New York.”

It’s true that, throughout the campaign, Clinton was described—by Trump, by his surrogates, and by countless people on social media—in the ugliest terms: weak, sickly, a criminal, physically repellent. Clinton, in her book, tells of how, during the second debate, just two days after the “grab ’em by the pussy” tape, she wanted to wheel around at Trump, who was “breathing down my neck,” and say, “Back up, you creep, get away from me, I know you love to intimidate women but you can’t intimidate me, so back up.” Instead, she bit her tongue and kept going.

She castigates Trump for inflaming and giving “permission” to misogynists and racists. “Those attitudes have never gone away,” she told me. “But we had successfully—and this is part of the role of civilization—we had rendered them unacceptable: being an overt racist, being an overt misogynist, saying the terrible things that Trump said about immigrants or Muslims. All of that was not political correctness. It was respect. It was tolerance. It was acceptance. But there was a growing resentment, anger, that came to full flower in this election. . . . The Internet has given voice to, and a home for, so many more people. And so with Trump to light the match, from the first day of his campaign to the last, there was a sense of acceptance, liberation, empowerment for these forces.”

“O.K., fellas, who wants to make me the happiest guy in the world?”

Did Clinton stand by her campaign line that a substantial number of Trump’s voters were “deplorables”? She shifted quickly from self-reflection to attack mode.

“I think Trump has behaved in a deplorable manner, both during his campaign and as President,” she said. “I think he has given permission to others to engage in deplorable behavior, as we did see in Charlottesville and elsewhere. So I don’t take back the description that I made of him and a number of his core supporters.”

In conversation and in the book, Clinton’s pain is manifest. When it comes to feminism and her role in the women’s movement, she says, she never figured out “how to tell the story right.” And the country, she believes, is not ready to hear it. Or, at least, not from her. “That’s not who we are,” she writes. “Not yet.”

Elsewhere in the book, she writes, “As the campaign went on, polls showed that a significant number of Americans questioned my authenticity and trustworthiness. A lot of people said they just didn’t like me. I write that matter-of-factly, but believe me, it’s devastating. Some of this is a direct result of my actions: I’ve made mistakes, been defensive about them, stubbornly resisted apologizing. But so have most men in politics. (In fact, one of them just became President with a strategy of ‘never apologize when you’re wrong, just attack harder.’)”

The women in her circle of friends and advisers are particularly outraged by the way that Trump was able to win so many votes among working-class white women. “Trump was, like, I am going to paint a picture of her as someone who will come steal your children and take your guns,” one said. “The million-dollar question will be: What will happen when it isn’t Hillary Clinton, when it’s another woman? For now, neither women nor men trust the ambition of women.”

 

A few hours after our conversation, I went uptown to Riverside Church, where Clinton was scheduled to hold a public conversation with Bill Shillady, a Methodist minister and a family friend who during the campaign had e-mailed Clinton hundreds of morning devotionals—Bible passages with accompanying short sermons—and who had helped officiate at Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, in 2010, to Marc Mezvinsky. Now he was publishing those devotionals as a book called “Strong for a Moment Like This.”

Clinton was doing Shillady a kindness, but even in this she couldn’t catch a break. The day before the event, the publisher, Abingdon Press, announced that it was withdrawing the book because it was filled with passages plagiarized from other pastors and sources. Shillady issued an apology, but, naturally, Clinton took the hit in the press. In her fashion, Clinton soldiered through, holding the conversation with another Methodist minister, Ginger Gaines-Cirelli.

The pews were filled with New Yorkers, a majority of them women, who had come to hear Clinton, to shower her with praise, to soothe her and themselves. In the introduction, Amy Butler, the senior minister at Riverside and a friend of Clinton’s, referred to the Trump Administration as a source of anguish and confusion, and everyone nodded solemnly. One got the sense that there would be hundreds of such events in the coming years for Hillary Clinton, and one wondered if they would do anything to ease the sense of failure, the anger at all the forces she could not begin to control. “We praise God for who you are,” a bishop said from the podium. “And most of all, Sister Hillary, we love you.”

Clinton was greeted with a long ovation, which she met with her signature slow head-nodding and an expression at once pleased and pained. She talked about her Methodist church in Illinois, her youth minister, Don Jones, and her trip to Orchestra Hall, in downtown Chicago, to hear Martin Luther King, Jr., deliver one of his most famous sermons, “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution.” Asked how she was managing, she made her joke about drinking “my fair share of Chardonnay.” She quoted from Galatians: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Her message was endurance, which has always been her watchword. And she made it plain what the election had unleashed.

“Where does that cruelty, that mean-spiritedness, come from?” she said. “It’s not from Christianity. It’s not from people of faith.” This was another source of confusion for her: the evangelical vote went not to the devout Methodist but, rather, to the guy who referred to “Two Corinthians.”

Again, the applause came, but it seemed not to lighten her at all. After the event was over, after the last handshakes, after the last selfie, Clinton climbed in the back seat of her car, the Secret Service all around, and headed back to her white house in the woods. ♦

 

This article appears in other versions of the September 25, 2017, issue, with the headline “Still Here.”

David Remnick has been editor of The New Yorker since 1998 and a staff writer since 1992. He is the author of “The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama.

Malaysia is known for the wrong reason(s)–Misogyny


August 1, 2017

Malaysia is known for the wrong reason(s)–Misogyny

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/07/29/asia/malaysia-women-misogyny-legislature/index.html

Image result for animah kosai

Lawyer Aminah Kosai and Friends

Editor’s Note: Animah Kosai (pic above on extreme right) is a lawyer who writes, speaks and advises leaders on creating an open “Speak Up” culture in corporations to address wrongdoing, harassment and safety concerns. She also speaks on women empowerment. Animah is creating a platform called Speak Up and can be followed on LinkedIn and Twitter @SpeakUpAtWork

Malaysia has a problem: misogyny. The country’s Parliament set yet another sordid example last week when Member of Parliament Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh, during a debate on amending domestic violence laws, said husbands were ‘abused’ when wives threw insults, withheld sex and denied consent for Muslim men to take another wife.

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Another Problematic UMNO Mamak–Setiu MP Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh

In 2007, another MP, Bung Mohktar Radin, equated the leaking parliament roof to a woman’s period, picking on woman opposition MP Fong Po Kuan, and saying she ‘leaked’ every month. His disgraceful comments drew laughter from the floor. No male MP stood up to defend her.

Image result for Shabudin Yahaya, MP and former syariah court judgeAnother UMNO Character from Penang

 

In April this year, Shabudin Yahaya, MP and former syariah court judge, objected to a female representative proposing a ban on child marriage during the tabling of child sex abuse laws. He said nine year old girls are already mature. That girls at 12 or 15 who had bodies of 18 year olds were physically and spiritually mature, and could be married. He explained that rape victims would face a bleak future without husbands — and suggested they marry their rapists. In Malaysia, the legal age for marriage is 18 but exemptions can be given by the appropriate judge.

Was there outrage? Yes. From civil society, mainly women, and a handful of female MPs. It’s an uphill battle when 90% of the House of Representatives are male. Only 23 out of the 222 elected members of parliament are women.

Picture a rowdy boys club that fights to determine the loudest chest thumper. The winner emerges as alpha male while the rest fall into line as loyal followers. Women entering this arena upset the pecking order. We think differently. We ask tough questions. The alpha male isn’t used to being questioned. Especially not by a woman. In front of his pack!

To keep his position, he has to remind her who’s boss. He does so through bullying rather than rational intelligent discourse. You see this in Parliament, in the workplace and on social media. All a leader needs to do is make one remark to ‘put a woman in her place’ and his sycophants will do the rest.

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An UMNO Empty Vessel who makes the most noise–Teuku (aka Tengku) Adnan Mansor

A few months ago, Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor was at a town hall meeting when an eloquent young woman asked him about steps to reduce street crime. She was worried for her safety. He replied, “It’s because you’re so beautiful. The next time you go out, wear shabby clothes.” The audience laughed and wolf whistles were heard.

In just one sentence, Tengku Adnan avoided answering the question, objectified the woman, blamed the victim and rallied the boys to follow his cue.

Once a leader speaks this way, he is sending the signal to the masses that it is the fault of the victim for being attacked. This is wrong and has to be called out for what it is.  Patriarchy. Sexism. Rape Culture.

Why can men get away with such sexist remarks? Because they hold the power. Malaysia has the dubious distinction of scoring highest in the Hofstede Power Distance Index. In other words, Malaysia is the country in which the least powerful members of society most accept and expect the unequal distribution of power.

This means leaders can say anything knowing they will most likely not be challenged. In some families, women are reminded that religion and tradition requires them to be subservient to their husbands.

Image result for Najib Razak--Malaysia's Corrupt Hypocrite

Malaysia’s Hippo-Crite –Anything for Political Survival

Zulkifly’s male abuse remarks last week came the same day his boss, Prime Minister Najib Razak announced women had hit 30% representation in management in the top 100 listed Malaysian companies. Najib noted 17 of the companies had no women directors and said companies without women on boards by 2018 would be named and shamed.

Najib, meanwhile, has only 3 women in his 35 member cabinet. His party, UMNO, has 7 women in its 57 member Supreme Council — a council that has both Tengku Adnan and Bung Mokhtar on it.

When there is big imbalance between the genders, misogyny thrives. The only way forward is for men to drop their pack mentality and let women in. It’s hard for women with 10% or 20% of the power to change male mindsets. Don’t leave the heavy lifting to us.

Men, the moment you hear a sexist remark, intervene and object. A man will be taken more seriously by a misogynist. Men are part of the brotherhood. When a woman points out a sexist remark, she is challenging the male ego. He gets defensive, stops listening and often continues his tirade. I have seen the powerful shift when a man calls out sexism. The speaker stops and thinks. He is not threatened. He may not change immediately, but a seed is planted. The more men call out misogyny, the greater the shift. Eventually men will hear women the same way they hear men. As equals.

Workplaces, social media and yes, Parliament, will become less aggressive and open up to a calmer, respectful culture where women will be happy to participate.

We need male champions for gender equality. So non-alpha male men: break ranks and support us.