Since Hillary Clinton began her Presidential campaign last year, the name of Huma Abedin, her top personal assistant has been heard in US media. As part of Hillary's campaign organization and its vice-chair, she interviewed and recommended senior staffers including campaign manager, Robin Mauk for hiring.
Last week as FBI leaked news that they want to investigate some emails that Huma sent to Hillary from her husband's (Anthony Weiner) laptop , the news created a firestorm in US as the general election was just 10 days away. Since last Friday, Huma's name, photograph and personal information have been broadcast continously by many TV networks, and US newspapers have written about it. Hillary's Republican opponent in the Presidential race, Donald Trump, has asked Hillary to fire Huma. But Hillay and her campaign have not spoken a word about her and are instead attacking FBI Director for sensationalizing an unfounded news that was already settled by FBI in last July.
Everyone in US wants to know, who is Huma Abedin? Huma is an Indian-American Muslim, the daughter of a distinguished Indian Muslim professor, Dr Abedin, a graduate of Aligarh Muslim University., who migrated to US in mid 1960s. He has since passed away. Her mother is a professor in a university in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Huma graduated from the George Washington University, Washington DC, at a time when Bill Clinton was US President and Hillary was the US First Lady. Huma joined the White House as an intern on the staff of the First Lady..
Huma soon became Hillary's prominent staffer and as Hillary moved to New York in 2000 and became a senator from New York, Huma worked on her senate campaign and then became a key staffer in Senator Hillary's office in Washington DC. When Hillary became US Secretary of State, Huma was her deputy chief of staff. The US media calls Huma Hillary Clinton's Body - Woman. If anyone wants to meet Hillary Clinton he has to go through Huma. Indeed, Huma has had a most enviable climb as a key political staffer in the cut-throat high politics world of Washington.
When some extreme right winger Republican politicians like Congresswoman Michel Bachman of Minnesota attacked her four years ago, calling her a radical Muslim with connections with radical Arab Muslims, many Republican leaders including senior senator John McCain too defended Huma against those charges. Through her 20 year long association with Hillary, Huma who is not yet 40, has moved skillfully and quickly through the minefield of Washington politics and has earned praise from senior level Democratic party politicians. The current attack on Huma and tying her emails to Hillary is a destructive and vile move of Donald Trump, who is targeting her because she is a woman, she is an immigrant and she is a Muslim.
Yet, in her extraordinarily fortunate career Huma has run into bad luck on an important issue. And that is her marriage to former Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York in 2010. He committed some sexual improperieties and was forced to resign his seat in US House of Representatives in the Congress. Also his name has been sullied much in the US media. This year Huma who has a child from Weiner, separated from him.
The smoke about the current email confusion created by FBI Director Como, an erstwhile Republican party member, will clear in a few days before the November 9 US election. Hopefully we will see Trump's unfounded attack on the emails of Huma and Hillary blunted. And God willing next week Hillary will win the election to become US President. That will be the day many all over the world are waiting for. Thereafter, Huma is expected to get a good position in the Hillary Whitehouse and do well in safeguarding Hillary's programs. .
Now all this has prepared Huma very well to run and win an elected office in the US Congress in her own right. The right thing will be for Huma to run for a Congresswoman position from New York in a couple of years, carrying Hillary Clinton's torch of justice and equal rights for women and immigrants in America..While several women have become the political heads in countries like UK, Germany, Italy, Norway and other countries in Europe, in US the opposition to a woman becoming a top political leader is very strong and visible. Not only Hillary Clinton, despite her life long record of political actions at the national level and having held prominent positions of responsibility in the government, has faced opposition, other women too have faced similar opposition when they have tried to run for high political office. .
For instance Speaker of the House of Representatives about 5 years ago , Nancy Pelosi has faced so many bitter attacks and insults from right winger Republican politicians. In 1984 when the late Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro ran as Vice President candidate with Walter Mondale as the Presidential candidate on the ticket, she was lampooned, condemned and insulted. This is a hard glass ceiling for women in US that they must break through. Huma Abedin must follow through in the footsteps of her illustrious mentor Hillary to carry this movement forward to empower women in US.
[The writer is the Executive Director of the Association of Indian Muslims of America, Washington DC.]