Would have never happened to KRudd, master of diplomatic etiquette:
Sowdi translator to Aussie ambassador whines over “disgraceful rudeness and lack of cultural sensitivity.”
Thanks to Mullah/Â BARNEY ZWARTZ/SMH
A SAUDI Arabian translator is seeking an apology and compensation from the Australian government after an incident with the Australian ambassador that she says showed disgraceful rudeness and lack of cultural sensitivity.
Wafaa Saeed had been working for the embassy in Riyadh only a day when the ambassador, career diplomat Kevin Magee, allegedly lost his temper at a staff function because – in accordance with local Islamic practice – she declined to shake hands with him.
”I was really shocked. My first reaction was paralysed. I thought he will hit me, so I tried to move away from him, but the wall was behind me,” she said.
Ms Saeed, 28, said the incident occurred at a farewell lunch on January 19 this year for the translator she was replacing, and all the diplomats and local staff were present but did not interfere.
”I did not shake hands because, as a common Islamic orthodox practice, Muslim women do not shake hands with non-chaperones. Instead, I placed my hand over my heart and nodded.
”However, he deliberately penetrated my personal space and insisted on my shaking his hand. I could not bring my hand down as he was too close.
”It was my intention to explain the etiquette saying, ‘I am a Muslim lady and . . ‘ but he interrupted me disrespectfully and screamed, ‘And I am Christian. Shake my hand!’ ”
Then, according to Ms Saeed, Mr Magee blamed the first secretary and office manager for hiring her, pointing rudely at her. ”Furthermore, he called my conduct unbelievable and outrageous and threatened he would do something about that.”
Ms Saeed quietly left the room and the embassy.
She toldÂ The Age she had passed up a better-paid two-year contract to take the embassy job.
Ms Saeed emailed then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith two weeks later, and then sent a fax on February 9, but never received any reply.
In the emails she asked that Mr Magee be given cultural sensitivity training. She also said that taking into account the position she passed over and ”the vigorous emotional, ethical and professional abuse I encountered by the man who should be the most diplomatic and knowledgable, he has to compensate me for all that as a result of his inconsiderate behaviour”.
The Riyadh embassy said yesterday that Mr Magee was on holiday. The Department of Foreign Affairs website describes him as a senior career officer who was previously director of the China Political and External Section. He has served in Moscow, Singapore, Ghuangzhou, Beijing and New York.
The Prime Minister’s Department says it received Ms Saeed’s email, and referred it to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in March. That department said it was ”continuing to ascertain the facts of the case”.
A devout Muslim, Ms Saeed said she did not wear the burqa or full face-covering common among Saudi women but a headscarf because this was appropriate when working with foreigners.
Thanks to the RoP
JEDDAH: It is claimed that the rate of housemaids running away from their sponsors usually increases as the holy month of Ramadan approaches.
“The housemaids will continue to run away even if their sponsors are regularly paying them their monthly salaries,” (what? Is Arab News telling us they’re not getting paid regularly?)
“There are some Saudis who mistreat their housemaids, compelling them to run away,” (Any idea why that is?)
No cultural sensitivity here:Â Saudi Arabia Deports Fellow Muslims to War-Torn Somalia…
JEDDAH: Students heading from Saudi Arabia to Switzerland for their education continue to increase, according to the Swiss Consul General. Arab News
Does anyone know what time it is?
“The involvement of reputable Swiss watch companies and joint ventures in the event was proof of the growing bilateral commercial ties,