Friday, May 21, 2010

Ms. Moynihan does it again

I so so enjoy her writing. Check out her article "What to do about the burqa" on Mercator. Some very insightful and challenging observations.

Single most chilling phrase: "the current Muslim era in the West." How one wishes that could be classified as some kind of  phantasmagoric oxymoron, instead of cold, hard, veiled reality.
Prior to the current Muslim era in the West, pretty much the only rule regarding how people might appear in public was that they should not be stark naked. Now, the French and Belgian governments, watched closely by Italians, Australians and others, want to forbid anyone being completely covered. Between those extremes -- and with the possible exception of Nazi insignia -- anything goes. Witness a gay pride parade somewhere near you.
[...] As western women cling to fashions that aim to reveal everything about the body, they too are depersonalised. The stranger’s eye is not drawn to the face where they might encounter the person, but to the body as a sexual object. And this leads also to oppression, even if the woman, just like the one in the burqa, does not understand that she is oppressed.
[...] But the truth that human dignity is not defined by decrees of the state does not mean it is defined by the customs of any particular group, either. For all that some women embrace it willingly, there is something very undignified about hiding the face. The dignity of a woman is the dignity of a person, and the face veil suggests, quite simply, that the wearer is not a person -- for her husband and children, maybe, but not for you and me.

This is a sad state of affairs but not one that governments can solve with bans. If anything, these will provoke resentment among Muslims at large and rebellion among the young (watch for more veils appearing, not less). As Muslim leaders themselves say, the answer lies with the education and empowerment of Muslim women.
What would help a lot is a decision by European women to dress and conduct themselves in a style consistent with feminine dignity. Half-bared bosoms and burqa rage are definitely not the way to persuade our Muslim sisters to give up the veil.

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