Blossom Ball 2009 - Fareed Zakaria

Blossom Ball 2009 - Fareed Zakaria

Fareed Zakaria:  not breaking any rule.  The salad is there so that you can eat it and then we will resume the program in about a half hour.  I just want to begin by thanking everyone here for coming out.  It is a rainy night in New York and you did not have to do it, but we are all very grateful that you are here and it is as you know a great cause.  Now I am something of an odd man out here quite literally, because you might wonder why the hell I am up here.

I’m not a woman, I mean I know nothing about the medicals, the circumstances of this Dr. Seckin will talk about that, but Dr. Seckin is our OB/GYN all and mine and we have three children and you would think that we are blessed to have three children.  You think that would be enough, but my wife thinks she may want a fourth.  This is her insurance policy in case that happens. 

I am delighted to be here nonetheless and what I wanted to just say for a few minutes if you will indulge me is actually in seriousness why this is such an important cause and why we are all so grateful that you are here.  You know one of the extraordinary things about the United States I think and for me as an immigrant, it is profoundly true is the extraordinary way it has provided rights and opportunities for women earlier in many cases than in many other parts of the world.

You know, the liberation of women has been so real, profound, ongoing that it is now just a part and parcel of our lives still very much work in progress, but a very profound part of our lives.  You see this in the contrast when I travel around the world the degree to which that process is still so incomplete and so barely begun in so many parts of the world.

You go into parts of Asia which are booming and said to be the future and you can find very quickly in rural China or rural India, relations between the sexes that remind you of the Middle Ages, remind you of notions of women being owned by men and being treated and abused in a way that is really unconscionable.  So much of that control has been about sex and about the way in which women’s sexual life has been denied, misunderstood, repressed.

I think that it is so important that in the United States, in the Western world, this process of liberating women continue and not simply be a matter of signing a piece of paper and giving the right to vote and things like that, but a much broader sense of understanding the complexities of the troubles women have in a way that, you know society has focused on the troubles that men have had for two or three thousand years.

I think in order to do that, what better cause than this one.  Because endometriosis is precisely a cause with the kind of taboos, the stigmas, the silence, the complications that attach in some ways to women’s health issues and has been misdiagnosed and misunderstood and has not had the kind of attention it deserves for precisely this reason.

So when I look at all of us here in New York, in the United States in 2009, I think this is the right cause, this is the right place, this is the right time, so thank you all very much for being here.

Now we have many dazzling people here, some of whom will speak, I notice the particularly dazzling Tina Brown is here and I would like rather cajole her into coming up, but we have Padma Lakshmi, we have Dr. Seckin, we have some fascinating stories that you will want to hear.  First and very briefly on this podium before dinner, because we thought you would not want to wait this long, we have a woman who needs no introduction and therefore is going to get no introduction.  You see her on television, on the big screen, you have seen her, but years and years and years she has delighted, charmed you, you will laugh, you will cry, what can I say, Whoopi Goldberg, ladies, and gentlemen.