April 3, 2009
With bowed head and bended kneeBy Thomas Lifson
Has anyone ever seen Barack Obama publicly bow and bend his knee when meeting someone prior to yesterday? I don't recall any photos of such a gesture of greeting, but I would be very happy if some of the President's defenders on the left could provide such evidence that his striking body language yesterday before the monarch of Saudi Arabia and custodian of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina was simply a habitual gesture of warmth.
(See also: Obama bows down to Saudi King and Would Abe Lincoln bow down to a slave-keeping Arab king?)
When meeting the Saudi King for the first time at a reception in London, the President of the United States unmistakably bowed deeply and even bent his knee. (at 1:37 in the following video)
The same bow seen from another angle here:
The American mainstream media apparently paid no heed, and instead focused on Michelle Obama casually touching the Queen of England when introduced to the United Kingdom's monarch. If anyone has seen MSM paying attention to this signal event, a traditional acknowledgement of fealty, please let me know.
If it was not a gesture of subordination, why did the Saudi King fail to respond with a similar bow?
The left wing blogs are doing their best to ridicule reaction to those who reacted in horror to body language conveying subordination and fealty. A self-identified "community college professor" on the left wing site Firedoglake uses a lot of Anglo-Saxonisms in ridiculing conservative reaction:
"Thin drool" is priceless, isn't it? The expression is "thin gruel", but I guess this "professor" has good reason to write under a pseudonym. There's nothing more ridiculous than an illiterate calling others cretins.
Another lefty blog, Whiskey Fire is even more pathetic:
Prior to the bow to the Saudi monarch, lefty blogs were celebrating the First Couple's expected casual attitude toward the Queen. Democratic Underground wrote: (hat tip: Powerline):
Yes, it is true that George W. Bush held the Saudi monarch's hand and kissed his cheek. But hand holding by men is a common gesture of friendship, not subservience, in Arab culture, as is kissing of the cheek. And yes, Dick Cheney was awarded a medal by the Saudi monarch, and lowered his head so that medal could be draped from his neck on a ribbon. And receiving an honor is not the same as an immediate unreciprocated bow upon meeting a monarch for the first time.
There is no question that an unreciprocated bow is a gesture of subservience. Bowing is a very serious matter in many cultures. I have counseled hundreds of Western executives on the intricacies of bowing when dealing with Japanese business executives, stressing that an unreciprocated bow is a rude gesture of dominance. The body language is clear and unmistakable in all cultures.
Abe Greenwald of Commentary understands the symbolism:
The old saying that one picture is worth a thousand words is actually amplified when it comes to cross-cultural communication. I have little doubt that the Muslim world's media will not be as circumspect as their American mainstream colleagues in displaying the demi-prostration of the American leader carrying the name Hussein to the guardian of Islam's holiest cities.
Until evidence is produced that Barack Obama habitually bows and bends his knee before others, I will have to assume that he meant this gesture to carry meaning. It is simply amazing to me that our media will not even present this image to the American public.
Thomas Lifson is editor and publisher of American Thinker.