Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The Burka Revisited


I seldom republish a post from the vault. But over the last week a troubling trend in my social media circles made me decide to do just that.

Recently, the Canadian government opposed a woman who wanted to take her oath of citizenship with her face hidden by a niqab.

Given there’s an election going on, this has been seized upon by so-called “Progressives” to bash Prime Minister Harper and his party as bigots and racists.

Many of those attacking the anti-niqab decision have regularly posted or altered their status photos to show support for a woman’s right to choose, to celebrate Gay pride and otherwise defend the rights of the individual.

And I’m sure they see a woman’s request for her cultural beliefs to be respected as worthy of support –- instead of recognizing what it really is, the right of a male dominated culture to continue the subjugation of their wives, mothers, sisters and daughters.

There seems no understanding that the culture for which they are advocating also supports the execution of homosexuals, the brutalization of victims of rape and female genital mutilation.

It’s a culture that also sees nothing amiss when a father or brother murders a female member of their household to uphold the family’s “honor”.

This week in Australia a young Muslim woman was murdered by her father for the crime of having condoms in her purse. And Canadians in particular need look no further than the case of Mohammed Safia to know what the Niqab actually represents.

What follows was first posted eight years ago. It would seem to need repeating:


When I was still acting, I was doing a play in London, England. One afternoon, I wandered into Harrods. Their book department included one of the largest magazine displays I’d ever seen and I often dropped by to pick up reading material I'd never encountered before.

This particular afternoon, I stumbled across something far more interesting.

A very wealthy looking Arab guy walked in, followed closely by a woman dressed in the complete burka, veiled and robed so heavily and completely, you could only see her eyes. He said something that I took for “Wait here!” and left her by the magazines as he went off to find a clerk.

He was looking for something apparently hard to find for the clerk had soon taken him deep into the stacks. The woman perused the magazine stand for a moment, looked around to make sure nobody was watching and moved to the Fashion section.

Then, making sure she couldn’t be detected, she took the corner of an issue of "Vogue" between two fingers and peeled it back ever so slightly so she could peek inside.

From where I was standing, I could see the utter amazement in her eyes as she stared at the high fashion models visible inside the barely open pages. Taking another glance to make sure she hadn't been seen by her male companion, she cautiously fingered her way onto another page, staring again at images clearly forbidden to her.

A moment later, the guy and the clerk were back, sorting through a number of books, so she had to turn from the magazine and stand around like she wasn’t looking at anything.

As the two men haggled over something or another, I went over, picked up the copy of "Vogue" and stood near the woman, flipped it wide open and slowly turned page after page as if I was studying each photograph in detail, but making sure she could see the pictures.

This went on for about 20 minutes. He glanced at me a couple of times, probably assuming I was gay or some kind of haute couture perv and finally called her over as he bought his book.

I put the magazine back and went back to browsing. A couple of minutes later, they left, with her once again following a few steps behind him. As the woman passed, she turned her eyes toward me with the warmest look I’ve probably ever had from a woman.

I wonder if any of these guys have any idea what’s really going on the heads of their wives, sisters and daughters -- or how much better their marriages and their lives would be if they did.

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