Hillary won Sydney with her insightful sum up of world affairs and about the constant vitriolic barrage targeted at women

By Neena Badhwar

It was a packed theatre around 9000 in all who cheered as she walked on to the stage. She looked small from afar with the audience sitting right up to the auditorium roof. Hillary Rodham Clinton came to Sydney and Melbourne earlier, a neon colourful sign proudly displaying her name outside the ICC Theatre in Darling Harbour.

And then she started. A confident, introspective, look on her life summing up what happened and how to look forward to the present day world affairs. Having been the wife of a President of America and then holding the position of Secretary of State, Hillary has an overview of our world, of which she only has the ability to sum up ”“  Russia’s interference in American elections, the Brexit, America dumping Iran deal, Korea, China and how Iran is heavily involved in Syria and Israel’s Golan Heights. In our region with Korea, China what is Australia’s role in Asia.

“Russia’s interference is more than alarming and ”˜clear and present danger to democracy’ through Facebook, Twitter, Google, Youtube even Pinterest to place targeted attack and negative stories not just to hurt me but to flame the flames of division,” she said. Her talk  was insightful and she touched upon the play of misogyny by the men, “If the women are in their subordinate position it is fine and okay with them, but soon as a woman strives for the top spot, somehow her popularity goes down.”

She said that there is no such thing as an ”˜alternative fact’, “Russia’s disinformation campaign, during our election, was successful in part,  because America’s natural defences had been worn down over years by powerful interests that wanted to make it harder for us to distinguish between fact and fiction.”

“When leaders deny things we can see with our own eyes like the size of a crowd at an inauguration or refuse to accept subtle science when it comes to urgent challenges like climate change, it is not just frustrating to everybody, we pride ourselves on living in the fact based universe, it is insidious and subversive to democracy,” she paused thoughtfully, “Think about it,” as she addressed the audience.

“Democracy really relies on people reasoning together, and listening, even compromising, based on a common understanding of the problem to be solved. When that becomes disruptive, or discredited, you end up with opposing camps, not listening, not talking, but holding firm to whatever the ideological or other view might be.

“Where do we go from here, I don’t have all the answers but I wrote this book in part to layout some of these questions from my understanding. Our world is at a cross road. What we do next, not only as governments, as business leaders, members of the media, influencers, and ordinary citizens matters enormously. We are living through a global struggle, yours and mine, liberal democracies and a rising tide of illiberalism and authoritarianism that threatens to breaks up the EU and NATO.” She pointed to Putin who has positioned himself as the leader of an authoritarian and xenophobic movement.

She said how this movement is rippling out from Kremlin and beyond even to Asia, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines where leaders are abolishing term limits, trying to consolidate power. She touched upon Korea and why it is necessary for America to remain in the region. “Pulling out of Iran deal makes Iran dangerous. Now it is free to do what it wants.”

She said she is still optimistic about human rights and democracy over closed societies , oppression and authoritarianism. “We are on the right side of history. We will reach out to the world while standing up for fundamental values and interests, I know we have no better friend and ally than Australia.”

She invited Julia Gilliard, Australia’s ex prime minister in a chit chat about her childhood, life with Bill Clinton, how they met, her rise to being the secretary of state, twitter and men, last American elections, her debates with Trump during elections and how he attacks your vulnerability, your weakness, such as by attacking women’s looks.

“When the accusations go most foul, name calling of the vile sort, that’s something different, it shows disrespect towards women that uses verbal violence that drives women off Twitter or other online platforms. When you hear   that about yourself, when you are being constantly barraged with same kind of vitriol, it is painful. Bernie Saunders had this hold on men on Twitter. A group of women, thousands in number, in Twitter just left in disgust. It can keep women’s voices muted. It is a serious issue, the profanity, the swear words. Women just withdraw from that kind of public arena. Saying things like ”˜lock her up’ ”˜string her up’ the ”˜rape threat’, you’d be a mess.”

She said, “We as women, you and I, getting more women under an arena, so that burden just doesn’t fall on not just the few of us,” a lady shouted from the crowd to both Julia and Hillary, ”˜Love you girls’. That summed it all.



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