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Monday, October 09, 2006


Veiled nonsense

I love it when people shoot themselves so firmly in the foot as the current crop of politicians; they provide the ammunition and the media are the delivery mechanism. Take this business with Muslims and veils for example. Ex British Foreign Secretary opens mouth and plants foot firmly in it with a vociferous minority group. The man has never heard of the axiom ‘Least said, soonest mended’, or if he had suffered a senior moment and forgot it.

Did he not understand that the first thing certain ‘reporters’ do to make easy money is to hare off to a predominantly Muslim area and repeat what was said to the first fully veiled woman they find who will talk to them. Then they film her getting overheated about her highly personal interpretation of her cultural dress code. Then the ‘reporters’ present it as if all Muslim women and men hold such views, which is not necessarily true. To said reporters this is a ‘result’ and they go away happy having made an easy ‘story’. They have successfully completed some managed ‘news‘ and made work from nothing rather than doing a proper job of investigating.

Not that I have much sympathy for the politicians in question and perhaps I stifled the odd giggle at their self inflicted predicament. However, this kind of stuff drives a wedge between communities who would otherwise get on in their own backhanded way without outside trotters clumsily stirring up trouble where little existed before.

No wonder people get defensive with so many generalisations flying about such as; ‘All white people are racists / crusaders / whatever’ (Not true) or ‘All black kids grow up to be gangsta rappers’ (Not true) or ‘all Muslims are anti western’ (Not true, or why do most of them come to the West?). There is a little (A very little, miniscule in fact) truth on all sides of that particular divide, but not nearly as much as certain sections of the media would have you believe. On the other hand there’s enough in it to make a lot of people’s reasoning faculties (On all sides) go into instant shutdown mode. From the Indigenous (Native British) perspective, there is the natural xenophobia of the human super-tribal society; from the ‘outsider’ perspective (Immigrant community), there is the implied threat from the indigenous reaction to strangers, and, in the words of Kurt Vonnegut in his book Slaughterhouse Five, so it goes.

Now there is a full blown row about the hijab being worn publicly on Britains Streets where there wasn’t one (A full blown row) before. If I may be permitted the observation, it appears to me that most people who choose this sort of dress seem to do so as a defence against the open social mores of western society. Some have been noticed even wearing Burquas, a phenomenon public in this country for some time in certain areas. First time round it can be quite unnerving to be passed on the street by a small two legged tent, but after the initial surprise one just shrugs and thinks probably covers up the cellulite nicely.

Out here where it counts I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fully veiled Muslim woman driving (How can anyone drive safely with such restricted visibility?). You see the odd one or two out on the streets in my neck of the woods, but mostly they slide beneath my radar, which is more focussed on vehicles breaking the parking laws than ethnic dress codes.


Blogger Tom Reynolds said...

Around my way there are a fair number of women driving around in burqas. Plus they are often in banks, while crash helmets aren't allowed.

Like you they tend to slide beneath my notice these days.

However, I *did* notice a large increase in the various forms of muslim dress following September 11th.

Muslim Pride?

Thursday, October 12, 2006 9:11:00 am  

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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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