May 29, 2022
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Madeleine Albright, former US secretary of state and feminist icon, dies at 84

Madeleine Albright, former US secretary of state and feminist icon, dies at 84

WASHINGTON — Madeleine Albright, who fled the Nazis as a toddler in her native Czechoslovakia throughout World Struggle Two then rose to develop into the primary feminine US secretary of state and, in her later years, a popular culture feminist icon, died on Wednesday at the age of 84. 

Her household introduced her dying on Twitter and stated she had died of most cancers. Leaders, diplomats and teachers remembered her as a trailblazer on the world stage. 

Albright served as US ambassador to the United Nations from 19931997 in US President Invoice Clinton’s administration. He then nominated her to develop into the primary feminine secretary of state and she served in that function from 19972001. 

“Madeleine Albright was a force. She defied convention and broke barriers again and again,” US President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., stated. He directed US flags be flown at half-staff at the White Home and authorities buildings, together with embassies, till March 27. 

She was a tough-talking diplomat in an administration that hesitated to contain itself within the two greatest overseas coverage crises of the Nineties — the genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina. 

She as soon as upset a Pentagon chief by asking why the navy maintained greater than 1 million males and ladies beneath arms in the event that they by no means used them. 

The plain-spoken Albright took a tricky line on a 1996 incident the place Cuban jet fighters downed two unarmed US-based planes, saying: “This is not cojones, this is cowardice,” utilizing a Spanish vulgarity which means “testicles.” 

Whereas at the United Nations, the place Safety Council members stood in silence on Wednesday to honor her reminiscence, she pressed for a more durable line towards the Serbs in Bosnia after Bosnian Serb navy forces laid siege to the capital Sarajevo. 

Throughout Mr. Clinton’s first time period, many of his administration’s prime overseas coverage specialists didn’t wish to get entangled as a result of they vividly remembered how america turned slowed down in Vietnam. 

In 1995, Bosnian Serb troopers overran three Moslem enclaves, Srebrenica, Gorazde, and Zepa, and massacred greater than 8,000 individuals. 

The US responded by working with NATO on airstrikes that pressured an finish to the struggle however solely after it had been happening for 3 years. 

Albright’s expertise as a refugee prompted her to push for america to make use of its superpower clout. She needed a “muscular internationalism,” stated James O’Brien, a senior adviser to Albright throughout the Bosnian struggle. 

Early within the Clinton administration, whereas she unsuccessfully advocated for a faster, stronger response in Bosnia, Albright backed a UN struggle crimes tribunal that ultimately put the architects of that struggle, together with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Bosnian Serb leaders, in jail, O’Brien stated. 

The painful classes discovered in Rwanda and Bosnia served america effectively in Kosovo, when Washington noticed the extra highly effective Serbs start a program of ethnic cleaning of ethnic Albanians. NATO responded with an 11-week marketing campaign of air strikes in 1999 that prolonged to Belgrade. 

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani stated on Wednesday she was “deeply shocked by the loss of Kosovo’s great friend,” including that the intervention “gave us hope, when we did not have it.” 

Throughout efforts to press North Korea to finish its nuclear weapons program, which had been ultimately unsuccessful, Albright traveled to Pyongyang in 2000 to fulfill North Korean chief Kim Jong-il, turning into the very best rating US official to go to the secretive Communist-run nation at the time. 


As soon as the Clinton years and the Nineties had been over, Albright turned an icon to a technology of younger ladies searching for inspiration of their quest for alternative and respect within the office. Albright was fond of saying: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” 

Albright was a marked distinction to her predecessors and male colleagues in uniform fits. She used garments and jewellery to ship tart, political messages. One favourite was a snake brooch, a reference to Iraqi chief Saddam Hussein calling her an “unparalleled serpent.” 

She wrote a e-book about her signature jewellery, one of a number of bestsellers, explaining that the pins had been a diplomatic instrument. Balloons or flower pins would point out she felt optimistic, whereas a crab or turtle would point out frustration. 

Born Marie Jana Korbelova in Prague on Might 15, 1937, she and her household fled in 1939 to London when Germany occupied Czechoslovakia. She attended college in Switzerland at age 10 and adopted the title Madeleine. 

She was raised a Roman Catholic however after she turned secretary of state, the Washington Put up dug up documentation exhibiting that her household was Jewish and kin, together with three grandparents, died within the Holocaust. Her mother and father possible transformed to Catholicism from Judaism to keep away from persecution as Nazism gained energy in Europe, the paper reported. 

After the struggle, the household left London and returned to Czechoslovakia, then within the throes of a communist takeover. 

Her father, a diplomat and tutorial who opposed communism, moved the household to america the place he taught worldwide research at the College of Denver. One of his favourite college students was Condoleezza Rice, who would develop into the second feminine secretary of state in 2005 beneath Republican President George W. Bush. 

“It is quite remarkable that this Czech émigré professor has trained two secretaries of state,” Albright advised the New York Instances in 2006. 

Albright attended Wellesley School in Massachusetts, and received a doctorate from Columbia College. She turned fluent or near it in six languages together with Czech, French, Polish and Russian in addition to English. 

In 1959, she married newspaper inheritor Joseph Medill Patterson Albright, whom she met whereas working at the Denver Put up, and that they had three daughters. They divorced in 1982. 

She adopted her father into academia but in addition turned concerned in Democratic Get together politics. Albright joined the employees of Senator Edmund Muskie, a Maine Democrat, in 1976 and two years later turned a member of President Jimmy Carter’s Nationwide Safety Council employees. 

Since leaving the Clinton administration, she has written a collection of books. One, Hell and Different Locations, was revealed in April 2020. Others embrace her autobiography, Madam Secretary: A Memoir (2003), and Learn My Pins: Tales from a Diplomat’s Jewel Field (2009). 

The plain-spoken Albright made forays into well-liked tradition. Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler’s character had an image of Albright in her workplace. 

In 2005, the Gilmore Women tv collection the character Rory dreamt that Albright, carrying a crimson swimsuit and an eagle pin, was her mom. 

In 2018, she and fellow former secretaries of state Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton briefed a fictional secretary of state in Madam Secretary, a TV drama the place she spoke passionately concerning the risks of abusive nationalism. — Diane Bartz/Reuters

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