Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bugger The Burqa?

I have had a couple of meetings this week at a hotel that gives away the Independent newspaper, to be honest I'd never buy it but when it's free, well why not?

I did find an interesting article in it today by Sophie Morris, all about women wearing the burqa. Following is a quote from the article:

On Monday, President Sarkozy took issue with the proliferation of women wearing the burqa in France, weighing into the debate on whether, as a secular country, the French Republic might outlaw the veiling of one's body from head to toe in public. "The burqa is not a religious sign," he said.

"It is a sign of subservience, a sign of debasement... in our country we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity."

I instinctively dislike the burqa but believe it to be a matter of individual choice, I'd prefer women not to wear it but ultimately they should decide. I've no doubt we all do things others dislike but individual freedom needs preserving rather than crushing. I do find it strange, however, in these days of security obsession for banks and other institutions to allow masked women, assuming they are all women, to wander in and out at will, but that's another issue.

We all know it's not a religious necessity but Sarkozy is wrong, it is a 'religious sign' just as the crucifix many of us wear is a 'religious sign' but not a necessity imposed by our faith. The burqa is just a bit more obvious than a crucifix and, inevitably, provokes stronger reactions. But then the French have always had an unhealthy acceptance of the dominant and authoritarian nature of their state.

What I do find highly amusing, and thank the burka wearers for it, is to see feminists performing ideolgical contortions trying to balance feminism with multiculturalism in relation to the burka. Now that is fun.


Macheath said...

'feminists performing ideolgical contortions'

One of the funniest of Jill Tweedie's 1970's 'Letters From a Faint-Hearted Feminist' describes what happens when Mo, the white middle-class hard-line feminist, adopts the burqa as a gesture of empowerment and sisterly solidarity.

It would be very interesting to see if today's Guardianistas could still manage to laugh at it.

Nick said...

I agree, this is a choice the individual woman should make NOT the Government.