SUNDAY AUGUST 28TH
These lazy days won’t go on much longer – already it’s nearly the end of August ! Sad really, but today was so hot, it was impossible to do a great deal except enjoy the lethargy.
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The news this week has been full of the great burkini controversy. Here’s what the Guardian had to say …
” Last week, Nice became the latest French resort to ban the burkini. Using language similar to the bans imposed earlier at other locations, the city barred clothing that “overtly manifests adherence to a religion at a time when France and places of worship are the target of terrorist attacks”.
As far as I see it, this garment has been around for a few years but it is only now that it has hit the headlines. Muslim women have been banned from swimming pools, being accused of wearing street clothes in the water. 30 French towns have banned it from their beaches, but where do you draw the line ? It is very much like a wetsuit, and similar to what any of us might wear on the beach in the winter. Are the French police also against Nuns wearing habits ? Does it go against human rights to dictate what women can wear ? Or, is a country within its rights to dictate what its own countrymen and women can wear? If Muslims do not like living under such a system, they are free to go elsewhere. Most women travellers do take care to respect the views of modesty when visiting a Muslim country.
Now the French courts have overturned the ban, but the local mayors are declaring that they will ignore this overturning.
I can see the sense in banning the burqa in these fragile times. A large woman in a burqa could easily be a man with an arsenal of weapons hidden in its voluminous folds. And I have no idea how a passport photo could be dependable when all you can see are a woman’s eyes. But you couldn’t hide a machine gun inside a burkini.
To me, one of the delights in going to the beach is to feel the sun, the breeze and the sea water on my skin. A burkini allows for none of this, yet I somehow sympathise with a Muslim’s indoctrinated life-view. When we were in Morocco a few years ago, one of the saddest sights I saw was a small Muslim family on the beach, where the mum was in full regalia, paddling with her small son up to her knees in the sea, with all her robes dragging in the water around her. Did she choose to do this, or was it imposed upon her by her upbringing ?
I think it’s rude to hide our bodies. We have been given this wondrous gift – a body which is gloriously different for everyone, yet generally speaking WORKS! WHY be ashamed of it? If you gave a friend a present, and they told you that they were ashamed of it and needed to keep it hidden away, then you would be very hurt.
La Provence newspaper has said:
“The burkini is not a new range of swimwear, a fashion. It is the expression of a political project, a counter-society, based notably on the enslavement of women.”
I feel very uncomfortable about all this. Burkini wearers would counter this statement by saying that the burkini brings them new freedoms to enjoy a swim in the sea. I hope it’s not stirring things up even more than they need be, and inculcating more race-hate. There has been so much killing recently attributed to Muslim extremists, is this just playing into these extremists’ hands ?
The world doesn’t have to be like this. I am so grateful to have been born into a fairly open-minded society. And grateful to be born under the sign of pisces, the fish swimming in both directions, and always seeing every single point of view at the same time.