Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has tweeted the following:
From a wmn carrying a mattress on her campus to Afghanistan’s Wmn’s Nat Cycling Team, reaching true equality req showing change is possible.
The woman with a mattress is, as Katie Pavlich explains, a reference to Emma Sulkowicz. She is the Columbia University student who carried a mattress around the campus as part of her “carry that weight campaign.” Her goal was to show how heavy the burden of rape is on a woman. Sulkowicz said she had been raped and would follow her rapist with the mattress until he was brought to justice.
But from all that appears, Sulkowicz wasn’t raped:
Paul Nungesser, the Columbia University student accused of raping fellow student Emma Sulkowicz, is now suing the university for doing nothing to stop Sulkowicz’s harassment campaign against him, which he claims “effectively destroyed” his college experience, reputation, and future career prospects.
His lawsuit contains a wealth of new information about the contested sexual assault, including dozens of messages establishing Sulkowicz’s sexual “yearning” for Nungesser, which she sent to him both before and after the alleged incident.
Power’s analogy is therefore completely out of line. As Pavlich concludes:
Just a few short years ago Afghan women had no rights at all. For Power to compare a Columbia University student who lied about rape to get attention to women in Afghanistan is absurd, an insult and completely out of touch with the realities of true injustice in the world.
For a certain kind of leftist, criticism of another country’s human rights policy must always be accompanied by an acknowledgment of America’s shortcomings. President Obama has turned this into a perverse art form, applying it even to criticism of ISIS.
Is the impulse to find “moral equivalence” the product of a desire to express national humility? Or is it down to simple lack of respect for America? Maybe the desire is driven by the lack of respect.
In any case, Power has taken the phenomenon to a new level. Her implicit criticism of America — an invocation of the “rape culture” theme — accompanies praise for, not criticism of, developments in Afghanistan.
And, if this still matters, it is based on a fictitious account.