The Women of Qumar image

The Women of Qumar

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I don't know whether it's the new Saudi monarch, or Raif Badawi, or this leader in The Economist last week, or the beheading of adulterous women, or Robert Fisk's recent leader in the Independent, but I've been thinking a lot about The Women of Qumar lately. It is remarkable that this scene in particular, broadcast fourteen years ago, has lost nothing in rhetorical power or contemporary urgency. In fact, if the first four season climaxes (What Kind Of Day Has It Been, Two Cathedrals, Posse Comitatus and Commencement) are discounted, this may well be the best serious scene in the whole of The West Wing, and it certainly knocks several other contenders, like the Oval Office scenes in Shibboleth and Seventeen People, into a cocked hat. They're beating their women, Nancy:

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