Huma Abedin is well-known for her years of public service with Hillary Clinton and her marriage to former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, with all the humiliation that arose from his betrayals.
“I was tired of people telling the world what they thought I was thinking,” she said. “I decided to tell the world my story the way it really happened and how it affected me, knowing full well there will be readers who have experienced something similar. Hopefully, my book will help them in some way.”
That book “Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds” is a candid and compassionate story that captures her two decades of public service as Clinton’s senior adviser to and as deputy chief of staff at the U.S. Department of State. It is also the story of Abedin’s inspiring family, and the heartache she faced during her marriage with Weiner.
She will speak about the book at 7 p.m. Feb. 17 in the Campus Center Ballroom at the University at Albany. The talk, presented by the New York State Writers Institute, is free.
Her parents were both academics who met at the University of Pennsylvania. Her father grew up in India and her mother was Pakistani. Abedin’s father began his teaching career at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, and 10 years later he took a job and moved the family to Saudi Arabia.
“I learned so much about the world by traveling. One of the greatest gifts my parents gave us were going on trips every summer when they were not working. We traveled through Europe, Asia and the Middle East. If my parents were attending a conference somewhere, they would take us along.”
Abedin and her siblings always identified as Americans even though they felt very much at home when they lived in Saudi Arabia. “My parents came to this country as immigrants and knew they could not go back to their countries because they were forever in conflict. They also decided not to move to Michigan and just stay there. They wanted us to assimilate as Americans, but to also maintain our own cultural and religious values.”
When Abedin lived in Saudi Arabia, there were many restrictions, particularly for women and girls, but the family also formed strong friendships. “Summers in Saudi Arabia we would often explore that part of the world, and when we would return to America as visitors it was obvious that America was a place where anything was possible. As an American girl I could sit on a swing and go as high as any boy, which was not allowed in Saudi Arabia.”
As Abedin was writing this book she was reminded of the significance her parents and grandparents had in her own development, which allowed her to meet many world leaders, entrepreneurs, famous artists and to be present for some of the most significant world events in the past 25 years.
“I often think of my maternal grandmother who had such an insatiable need to want to go to school in India when all her other friends were being taught at home. Girls at that time only needed to learn some math and how to sew and embroider, but my grandmother wanted more for herself and she also wanted more for her daughter, my mother. None of the experiences I’ve had — working at the White House, sleeping in Buckingham Palace and riding on Air Force 1 — would have happened if she had not decided to go to school 100 years ago.”
Abedin still recalls with wonder that day in 1996 when she walked in to the White House on her first day as a 21-year-old college intern. “The entire world comes through those gates and I met so many (notable people) from Nelson Mandela to Princess Diana. I got hooked on the excitement and the energy very fast.”
She admitted she had no idea what she was doing at first. “But I quickly learned that when you’re working for Hillary Clinton you’re with a group of highly qualified people who are there to support you. Hillary had empathy for everyone, and I quickly learned I could go to anyone in the White House if I had a problem. That was the culture Hillary Clinton created. She really cares about people, and she would have been such an excellent president.”
Abedin also writes honestly about the anger and shame she felt because of her then-husband Weiner’s illicit texting, which resulted in his resignation from Congress and serving 18 months in a federal prison. For a while she even blamed herself that Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election because FBI director James Comey had reopened an investigation into Clinton’s emails only days before the election because some of Weiner’s emails were found there.
“I carried that shame for a long time. I went from a place where I felt loved and supported to being rejected by people, who I thought were my friends. That still hurts today. The anger was slowly killing me, and I had to let it go.”
Abedin now realizes that Weiner was suffering from an addiction, and he has worked hard to overcome it. “We are no longer married, but we have cobbled together a system that works to co-parent our son, Jordan, who has stability and two parents who love him very much and are around as often as possible.”
Her life in public service has come to an end, and Abedin’s not sure about her next chapter. “I don’t see myself in politics, and I’m not sure I’d be good at it. I’ve liked being back out in the world and discussing the topics in my book. I’ve met many people who’ve gone through something similar to me, from their spouse, and I know my book has been a support to them.”
UAlbany Speaker Series: Huma Abedin
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17
Where: UAlbany Campus Center Ballroom, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany
More info: nyswritersinstitute.org
Huma Abedin reflects on Clinton service, Anthony Weiner marriage in new book appeared first on maserietv.com.