Thursday, July 15, 2010

Burqa Debates

The burqa debate that is "storming" the continent is a manufactured one but it has the potential to become quite serious. Sadly you still have some Arabs who think that the European "Englightenment" candle was the brightest the world has ever seen, and this makes them strut arrogantly like peacocks, with a misplaced confidence. See the delightful Mona al Tahawy who thinks she is a feminist (she also thinks that's a good thing) but then does the equivalent of diving into the water to avoid the rain. Yes, Ms. al Tahawy has taken the brave position of supporting a ban on the burqa by restricting a freedom to restrict a freedom which she thinks will restrict freedom. On another note, observe in this other interview how she does not have to tell the interviewer even once that she used to live in Israel. Did you know that Mona al Tahawy lived in Israel? She'll tell you if you didn't... That she lived in Israel...because she know?


Anonymous said...

Because you know, her living in Israel is automatically negative. I don't support Israel, but I also don't dogmatically criticize everything associated with it.

I agree that there's something ironic about banning the niqab or burqa, though. I haven't quite figured out how I feel about it all on the whole.

Maysaloon said...

There is a nuance you might have been unaware of if you've only just found my blog. Here, see the two links where I've commented briefly on this tendency of her's before:

On another note, I like how the word dogma is used as a term to structure and frame a discussion before it has even started. Ironic in a way. Why do you think I am being dogmatic?

Anonymous said...

Fair enough Maysaloon, I meant know real offense. I jumped the gun a bit in using "dogma," but I'm not sure I find it strange how she keeps mentioning Israel. But maybe it's just that I find it normal for some people (I won't say "suck ups") in the Arab world to try to frame their actions only for Westerners. I don't necessarily like it, but I don't think it's out of the ordinary.

That said, if she wants to define herself that way, let her. She doesn't need to be an Arab-nationalist to love where she is from. If she loves where she is from, and wants to improve conditions there (as she defines it), good for her - as long as she isn't depriving people of their choice in the matter. It's this business of taking away people's choice that I find distasteful - not her religious makeover in Israel.

Maysaloon said...

No worries ID, none taken. In fact what you mentioned is not out of the ordinary at all and it seems you've answered your own question.

I don't think this is an issue about people's choice; people are different and you just have to deal with it. With Mona, she puts her ideas out in the media, and so she should expect a response or criticism. Will she like everything she hears? I doubt it, but that's life. What's not being done, at least from my perspective, is any kind of personal attack, however misguided the girl is.

Anonymous said...

Also, I meant "no" offense, not "know" offense. Jeez - I'm becoming illiterate in my own language - it's all this living in Lebanon!

Maysaloon said...

That's offence, not offense.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, supporting a ban on the burqa is exactly the same as supporting a law that obliges women to wear it.
In both cases, it denies the ability of women to relate to God and find the most suitable way to express their faith. Whether Mona al Tahawy likes it or not : the ban on the burqa is an anti-feminist law.

And moreover - even if she doesn't care - it is an anti-Islamic law, since "There is no compulsion in Islam" (Qur'an, 2:256)

Regarding Mona al Tahawy relationship with the colonial state of Israel, she is free to support - by her physical presence - colonialism, military incursion and illegal occupation of Palestine.
Exactly as I am free to denounce her dishonorable attempt of normalization with a State of apartheid.

It's a matter of freedom - that should not be denied to her, even if she does deny it to other women who simply wear differently than her.

Amira said...

Scathing....but I don't see why disagreeing on her on some (or more than some) issues means that she doesn't have some good points sometimes. I have to say, that Ms Tahawy was much better a few years ago

Anonymous said...

@ SiSi : I think the fact that Ms Tahawy is supporting normalization totally discredits her "some good points sometimes".

Reading her arguments makes me feel like someone who goes to the butcher's to find in this place the good effects of vegetarianism.. Supporting both the colonial state of Israel AND human rights, social justice, etc. is not liberal or democratic, it's just incoherent and immoral.

"The Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war."