For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
May 23, 2005
Mrs. Bush's Interview in Egypt by ABC, "Good Morning America"
Giza Plateau, Egypt
1:00 P.M. (Local)
Q Mrs. Bush, it's nice to see you. First Ladies are used to being treated with some deference, and yet, yesterday you got a real taste of some Muslim hostility. And I wondered what that moment was like as you heard their personal anger.
MRS. BUSH: No, I wouldn't say that at all. They were very hospitable, and the people who were giving me the tour at the Dome of the Rock welcomed me there very much. I went from the Western Wall to the Dome of the Rock, to Jericho, and then back to Yad Vashem -- really, all four of those sites are sites that are so important in the Middle East and so -- they're sites of great emotion, they're sites of great faith for two religions. And then this morning I went to a beautiful church on the spot where -- Emmaus -- where Christ revealed Himself to the two disciples. And so I really visited while I was there three beautiful sites, holy sites in the Holy Land.
Q You mentioned your visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust history museum, yesterday. And I saw that you wrote in the visitor's book, "We commit ourselves to teach tolerance and to live in peace." And yet, there are Muslims who feel, given what's happened with Muslim detainees, that we are not tolerant, and that, given what's happened in Iraq, we are not bringing peace.
MRS. BUSH: Well, you know, there are also Americans who feel that way, too, after September 11th, and feel like that was brought on us when we are a peaceful nation. And I know from having visited Afghanistan that many, many people in the Middle East, certainly in Afghanistan and in Iraq, are really glad that our American troops are there, that we are giving them the chance to build a country. I saw women in Afghanistan -- I know President Karzai is going to be in Washington today with President Bush, who wanted me to send my thanks -- their thanks to the women of America for standing with them in solidarity. And I think that is really the bigger picture.
All of us, everyone -- Americans, Afghanis, Iraqis -- deplore the photographs that we've seen, the reports that we've heard of prisoner abuse. But that is not really what happens all the time and that's not what our troops really do. This is a handful of people, and I think and I believe that many people here understand that.
We're expected to be better in our treatment of people than any other country because we believe in human rights and because we believe in human dignity. I know that when I was just in Palestine and Israel, both the Israelis and the Palestinian women want America to be involved. They need our country to be a part of a peace process. And both of them gave messages to me to give to the President and then to give to the American people, because our presence is really wanted and is needed to make a peace in a lot of these places in the Middle East.
Q I know one of the purposes of your trip is to show concern to Muslims, to reach out to them. Do you feel this has been a help, this trip?
MRS. BUSH: Well, I hope so. You know, who knows. I don't know. I came here for a lot of reasons. I came, first, to speak to the World Economic Forum, which is where I went first, to Jordan, to talk about women's rights, to talk about how important women are to an economy. If you want to improve maternal mortality, infant mortality rates, you do it by educating women. We know in our own country, women didn't get the right to vote until just about a hundred years ago. And each step of building a democracy, each step of women's suffrage takes a long time.
Q Mrs. Bush, all the best to you. That's an extraordinarily beautiful setting behind you.
MRS. BUSH: Thanks, Charlie.
Q All the best. You take care.
MRS. BUSH: I'll be touring these beautiful Pyramids later.
Q All right, enjoy.
END 1:08 P.M (Local)