October 23, 2009

ER’s Rolling Over In Her Grave a Few Miles Down the Road.

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:19 am by Superintendent

True, this is not France. And there is not an official ban on the hijab/headscarf in England. But just imagine how much worse harassment must be for a woman who openly defies social custom in France, even defies the law. Now imagine that girl is perhaps only 14 years old and does not truly understand why she is being bullied, that it is people’s discomfort with Islam and with difference, but silently deals with the harassment and associates it with herself and her religion. Does this seem fair? Humane? Justifiable?

The official ban on the hijab in France is not one that is seeking to maintain the secular identity of the country and its institutions; if it were so, ban the yamaka and cross/crucifix from schools like you have the hijab, Mr. Sarkozy. Though I do not like the notion of forcing a woman to wear a covering, I equally dislike a law preventing women from wearing the outfits they want. There is nothing lewd or revealing that can be claimed about the hijab; these women are not running around exposing body parts to tourists. Though I do not like the association of the hijab with a Muslim woman’s “honor” and “duty/obligation”, I do recognize that some women specifically choose to wear it, and in some situations the hijab has more of a cultural than religious meaning. The law is as persecutional as the Nazis enforcement of the yellow star for the Jewish. What’s worse, is the ban on the hijab symbolizes the Islamophobia in France, but is taken out solely on women and young girls; once again, women are the victims in the situation and are robbed of their own agency or chance at making their own decisions. Way to pass a sexist law, Mr. Sarkozy.

This year marks the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Let’s see if France is in violation of any of the tenets.

Preamble: (whoa, first line, what do you know?) Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Are Muslim women in France given the same opportunity as other women in the dignity of living their lives as they see fit? Of making simple clothing choices? Do they have the same inalienable rights as Christian and Jewish men and women to their culture and their religion?

Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

See above movie. Lots of brotherly love going on.

Article 5: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Such as being expelled from school for being Muslim? Or having to sneak prayers at lunchtime?

Article 18: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Freedom of conscience, freedom of religion. To be practiced in public or private with no debilitating laws against the manner in which religion is practiced or observed?

Article 26: (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

Promoting understanding… tolerance? Really? Everyone has the right to education? My (male) friend once broke the dress code to prove a point. He got asked to go home, change, and stop trying to make a scene. Muslim girls that don’t adhere to a dress code in France… expulsion. That’s “respect for human rights”.

Article 29: (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible. (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

Would achieving the full development of personality by chance be hindered by being unable to practice a personal faith or make clothing choices? (Only for women, of course.)  Talk about wardrobe malfunctions.

Article 30: Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

You mean, somewhat like France has done?

Don’t worry, Mr. Sarkozy. Our President will not call you out on your country’s violations of this charter. Especially not on the year where it will be celebrated for lasting 60 years. We will attack those “other” countries that dare to violate the ideals of the United Nations, but France being a democratic, modern, and advanced country, no one dare imply you have trampled on human rights.

I’d watch my back though. Eleanor might be coming for you.

(credit to FDRL)

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2 Comments »

  1. mcfall09 said,

    I like your commentary! hahaha

  2. jl ali said,

    Link to France’s OHCHR webpage: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/FRIndex.aspx
    (status of HR reporting, etc.)


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