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I don’t do anything religiously, especially religion; hell, I can’t even have the same breakfast two days in a row without getting antsy… but I do believe in freedom.  I take a pure stance on freedom… in a room full of extreme freedom lovin’ hippies, I’d be the radical one.

I probably don’t believe in anything you do in a spiritual sense and I probably do a lot of debating about your beliefs and in all fairness I possibly have absolutely no respect for your beliefs… but you are not your beliefs, and I will argue to the end for your right to believe what you do; for your right to religious freedom.

So when I heard people are calling for a ban of the burqa here in Oz, one eyebrow raised reflexively.  For starters the word “ban” makes me twitch; despite the intentions and the rhetoric that there is freedom in security, I’ve yet to see something “banned” that resulted in more freedom instead of less.

I have been lead to believe this ban is already in place in at least one country (France), and apparently there are several altruistic reasons for the idea.  Reasons such as our overall security and to stop the oppression of Muslim women.

They must think our brains are made of putty… either that or theyare made of putty.  These days I’m starting to think the latter.

You may be shocked to learn that Muslim women actually believe in their religion just as much as the men do.  I don’t like the blatant inequality any more than any other non-Muslim woman but I don’t think force is the answer.  Inequality is a facet of all the major religions to different degrees… we’d have to start splitting hairs if we’re going down that road.  Why stop at apparel?

When we ban, we remove choice.

The women (generally, cos hey, I read Princess, too)  want to be wearing the burka, they feel exposed without it.

We all have our boundaries.  We are all comfortable exposing ourselves to a certain point and then it’s a no-go any further than that.  I read a funny report from a guy who visited a Muslim country and when he walked into an area of breastfeeding women, they saw him and freaked, rushing to cover their… faces.

In our culture, a breast is quite shocking in polite society even if it is being used for its original job of feeding a small person.  So right there is a boundary difference… and yet we have the gall to say our boundary is the right one, and they are wrong.  Western arrogance hasn’t abated much since medieval prejudice, that is clear.  Not that the rest of the world is free of such arrogance, but we’ve been stripping them apart for that already – time to pull the log out of our own eye.

In some cultures, breasts and genitalia are not a big deal.  Nakedness isn’t so much celebrated as, “eh, whatever” in some parts of the world.  We tell them to cover up.  We’re telling Muslim women to uncover.  We want everyone to be juuuuuust so, just like us, because we are right, and everyone else is wrong.  “Myes dear, you must cover yourself from the upper thighs to the upper chest or you will be shamed… oh and keep your face uncovered, or you will be shamed… and sexiness before the age of 18 – shamed… and sexiness after the age of 40 – shamed…”  etcetera ad nauseum, Western Social Policing 101.

Goddamn we’re a bunch of hypocritical judgmental moralising snivelers, aren’t we??  Even now, even today, after all those movies and speeches of the 20th century we’re still doing the same thing but we’re so stuck in our idea of right and wrong we can’t even see we’re still doing it.  ALL of us, in some way, are judging and moralising and we tell each other it’s ok because we’re in the majority.

What if, when you visited or lived in a particular place, you had to remove all your clothing… ALL of it, or you were arrested.  Clothing has been “banned” here.  Remember, this is in your best interests, because women in certain cultures wear no clothing, so are obviously more free than you are.  This ban is for your freedoms, you are oppressed by your clothing wearing culture and we are going fix that problem for you by force.

Do you see what is wrong with this idea?  Can you for one second put yourself in the shoes of the “other”?  If we could learn to be the “other”, no matter where or what or who, rational decisions could be made.  So far, we keep making decisions and banning things and making rules and laws and carrying on like fruitcakes without thinking outside of our own boundaries.

We find sexy that which is hidden, mysterious.  Some cultures find the neck sexy, so they hide it and only bring it out for their sexual partner.  Some hide the sexual organs themselves, but the rest of the body is open including the breasts and buttocks.  In our culture, breasts are hidden and hey, guess what happened… breasts became “sexy” – and this isn’t a given, it isn’t the way it is in cultures where breasts are out swingin’ freely.  Muslim women save all of it, even the wrists are sensual if exposed, the face is the sexiest part of all and the hair a mass of adrenaline producing wowness.  Just like us and bare breasts, it has become like a law – and Muslim men don’t hide their wrists… but remember men in our culture don’t hide their breasts either.

Wanna fight for equality?  Learn to recognise it in yourself first.  See the ways you keep inequality alive in your own culture, in your own house.  When you sneer and judge (women showing cleavage, Britney Spears’ panty-less predicaments, boobs on gasp-shock-horror public television…) could you be shitting in your own nest… tying the noose around your own freedoms?

Bans and laws and rules do not give you freedom.  Don’t confuse security with freedom.  If you live in a small box where your food is brought to you and you cannot move very far… sure, you might have more security, but you’re in prison.  Like caged animals we have been trained to not just accept this oppressive “security”, we demand it, and we demand more of it.  If someone is hurt by a pole, we ban poles.  Or, if we’re American, we also sue the pole maker.

Don’t forget the litmus test:  if you are not doing something out of Love, you are doing it out of fear.

Did anyone else watch those bombs decimate Baghdad in 2003 and think, “Uhh, can someone tell me how this has anything to do with freedom?”

Invading = freedom

killing = freedom

banning = freedom

Who are they trying to kid?  Don’t be one of them, we need more clear thinkers, people taking action from a place of Love, not fear.

You don’t bomb, invade or ban with Love, ya just don’t.  You do those things out of fear.  If you want to “help” a Muslim woman, here’s a place to start: meet one.  Have the courtesy to ask her if she wants your “salvation”.

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One thought on “Burqa Ban – Using Oppression to Beat Oppression?

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