Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Burkini Controversy

Once again, France is giving free rein to its ongoing psychodrama in regard to Islam. This latest round points up the hypocrisy of the previous episode involving the burqa. Then, in order to avoid censure by the European Court, it was asserted that the burqa ban was a "security" measure. Faces in public places had to be identifiable, and clothing should not permit the easy hiding of weapons of terror. The ban had nothing to do with religion, proponents claimed, at least for legal purposes. In private the prohibition of the burqa was also defended on the grounds that it liberated women from oppression.

With the proliferating burkini bans, the liberation of women argument has again been raised, but now it is supplemented by the allegation that the body-hiding bathing outfit is "l’uniforme d’un mouvement contre lequel nous sommes en guerre," as the mayor of Cannes put it. Much of the rest of the world finds this position shocking, as documented by the Libé article linked above. Some in France will of course invoke, yet again, the uniqueness of laïcité. In a radio debate broadcast the other day on the subject of "Qu'est-ce qu'être Français," the inevitable Alain Finkielkraut insisted that France's extreme sensitive to the apparel choices of Muslim women stems from its "civilisation féminine." Seriously. And this was greeted with much applause from the audience.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

In that case why Nudism is not authorized??

Vintage Maison said...

Hmm, Nuns' clothing is not banned, (nor priests') and you could hide a multitude of stuff in the folds of a habit!

xdancer105 said...

ridicule.

Anonymous said...

I disagree
This proves that French people do not accept multiculturalism. Not because they are intolerant to the difference but rather to any forms seeking to change a their culture and legacies

Comparison with priests and nuns outfits is futile and extremely ill thought because (1) very few now dress traditionally and (2) are however part of French history. Same remarks applies to those professing to rabbi outfits but as Judaism has always been present in France, it does not pose such a problem

Burkini is not about Islam but salafism whose enemy is the western civilisation. They want to destroy Christianity and Judaism altogether. They promote gender inequality. Their views cannot be reconciled with western democracies. Any complacency towards salafism is naive and dangerous.

Alexandra Marshall said...

What "problem," exactly, does a burkini pose? Is traditional French culture really one to give lessons on female equality? How does anyone know whether this isn't a choice made by the women themselves? How does anyone know that any woman seeking to adhere to orthodox dress standards is merely a tool of jihadism? The condescension of the above comment by Anonymous sets my hair on fire. Whom, exactly, does this outfit hurt? How? The veil ban was already a terrific recruiting tool for Daech. This only goes one farther, and will continue to dangerously alienate a population that is already unfairly singled out for discrimination. Let people wear what they want and stop thinking you know why they're doing it. Police jihadist actions, not outfits. The "debate" around this issue shows the intellectual and moral poverty in France at the moment. The country is looked at by most everyone else as behind the times and, once again, hopelesly arrogant and chauvinist. Multiculturalism goes a long way to preventing jihadist recruitment and it only poses a danger to a hegemonic culture that is already incredibly insecure. Get over it.

bert said...

Le passé n’est jamais mort; il n’est même jamais passé ...

Massilian said...

I arrogant frog, male chauvinist pig and hysteric islamophobist but also enlightened republican breastfed by the luminous universal values of eternal French culture, suggests that since the burkini appears now as a true liberation garment for all women, the burkini will therefore and henceforth become mandatory for all women from 12 years old and up, on all french public beaches, regardless of nationality, color and creed. No more feminine flesh shall be offered to the sight of always leering males. Only the official French Burkini, blue top, white middle part and red bottom part carrying the NF sticker will be tolerated . A 135€ fine will sanction all illegal garments in different shapes or colors, fraudulent items will be immediately confiscated by the RAID officers.
Furthermore I think that 45 minutes of French bashing everyday during prime time tv on the main channel, would do us good, teach us some decency, modesty, humility and consideration for the rest of the world.

Alexandra Marshall said...

Oh look, someone actually did some research on the effects of the veil ban and spoke to women who wear veils in France to see why they do it and how they have been affected by the ban. Talking to the women themselves rather than bloviating: what a concept!
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/08/12/banning-burqas-isnt-a-sensible-response-to-terrorism/

myeconomicunderstanding said...

This "dress code" hurts the majority of French who do not adhere to multiculturalism. Just get over it as well

Anonymous said...

Banning burqas was no mean to prevent terrorism but rather a response to (1) protect la laïcité, (2) And as a mean some use to single themselves further out to then scream "discrimination"!

Be like a Roman in Rome opens up far more many doors than trying to impose one culture into the hosting Nation

French believes in universalism as you seem to believe in multiculturalism. None of the two beat better fruits. They are a Nation'a choice worth the respect

Anonymous said...

In better English....

Banning burqas was no mean to prevent terrorism but rather a response to (1) protect la laïcité and (2) against a tool radicalists use to single themselves further out to then scream "discrimination"!

Be like a Roman in Rome opens up far more many doors than trying to impose one culture onto the hosting Nation

French believe in universalism the same way as you seem to believe in multiculturalism. None of the two bear better fruits. They are a Nation's choice worth the respect

Most women wear the veil to avoid being treated de "Salopes" by their male peers who would find it ok to rape them since the Coran only condemns the raped women, not the rapist. Indeed it states that women are raped simply because they are too provocative.

myeconomicunderstanding said...

Yes you are right

These frogs definitely need to be punished for not adhering to the pseudo dominant Anglo way of thinking..., which produced Daech

Had there not been a second Iraqi war, Daech would not exist. Except if the us had carefully planned their removal and avoid turning Ba'ath party members into mercenaries

Had the Anglos not been dealing with Daech Saudi financiers for so long in the name of oil, there would not be such issues

Anonymous said...

Yes France is weak. This is why this is happening in France.

Had our bons penseurs of your kind not tried so hard to diminish traditional French culture, we would be faced with such challenges of the kind. Dixit a jihadi arrested by a friend of mine

Now France has its burqa laws; the Brits, Brexit; the US, trump; turkey, Erdogan.... All different faces of the same underlying problem: what are we to be in his globalised, multipolar world

bernard said...

One should, strike that, must support anything that keeps women alienated. Support the burka and the burkini and Trump. In fact, a nation that produces a Trump as the main candidate of one of its parties has a lot of lessons to teach to the world, including that hair is obcene. The fcat that women "whishing" to wear the burka are just a few hundred and that women "whishing" to wear a burkini are likely a few dozens is entirely irrelevant in terms of the provocative or not character of their gesture. It is just an issue about empowering women to hide their hair and should be supported by all liberals.

bert said...

It's probably a mistake, particularly on this blog, to use the word liberal without clarifying what you mean, Bernard. Liberal in the French sense of the pseudo dominant Anglo way of thinking (how comforting that it's only "pseudo", false consciousness being such a dependable source of solace)? Liberal in the American sense of all those to the left of Rush Limbaugh, a sinister cluster of perverts and weirdos intent on the destruction of everything noble and good? Or liberal in the tradition of John Rawls and John Stuart Mill?
If the latter, it's clear to me that a liberal wouldn't give the state an enforcement role, backed by its monopoly on violence, in picking out people's wardrobes.

There is a distinct French tradition on the role of the state, however. The heat generated by this silly debate makes that clear once again.

bernard said...

@bert
the ambiguity had not entirely escaped my mischevious mind. Should one support both the burkini and trump's hair, or is hair obcene, the question remains open.

Alexandra Marshall said...

This has somehow become some sort of anglo vs French debate. Every French person I know feels the same way I do: my husband, my brother and sister in law, my friends whom I'm currently on vacation with, their friends who came over for an apéro the other day. None of us would wear one ourselves. In a liberal democracy, it's not about that. Here's another honest to goodness French person, one who represents a group called SOS Racisme. Heard of it? It performs a very necessary function in France.

http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/societe/20160822.OBS6644/burkini-les-arretes-sont-des-mesures-guignolesques.html

Alexandra Marshall said...

The TL;DR version:

Ces élus invoquent aussi la laïcité…

- Il y a une grande confusion dans les termes employés. La laïcité est maintenant utilisée pour réprimer toute manifestation religieuse dans l’espace public. Je suis critique de toutes les religions, mais la laïcité, ce n’est pas la normalisation d’un groupe donné. Or, toutes les hystéries du débat actuel concernent l’islam. Christian Estrosi, député Les Républicains des Alpes-Maritimes, s’affiche publiquement lors d’une procession en l’honneur de la Vierge Marie, est-cela le respect de la laïcité ? Ces élus invoquent la laïcité quand ça leur chante. Lorsque des catholiques ont prié dans la rue devant l’Assemblée nationale contre le mariage pour tous, aucun d’entre eux ne s’en est ému.

bert said...

Sounds like you might line up alongside the German interior minister, Alexandra:
“I’m against wearing a burqa. You can’t ban everything you’re against.”

Postwar Germans approach the role of the state from a different historical starting point, of course.

Alexandra Marshall said...

Bert, yes exactly, that would be my position. Pragmatism and tolerance.

WRG said...

Just came across this article in Ha'Aretz, the Israeli (left-wing) daily.

I certainly agree with this point of view, straight from the country that's been living with terrorism for many decades.

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.737982

bernard said...

caroline Fourest actully has the right analysis and the right answer:
http://www.marianne.net/caroline-fourest-face-au-burkini-optons-nudisme-100245094.html

bernard said...

http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2016/08/26/le-conseil-d-etat-suspend-l-arrete-anti-burkini-de-villeneuve-loubet_4988472_3224.html

Alexandra Marshall said...

*whew*

brent said...

Does anyone else find it amusing that the regional president overseeing the 'burkini' nonsense is named 'Christian'? Now, a name is not an article of clothing--but it's similar: it's a way of presenting one's identity in public. Saying 'My name is Christian' is not a religious practice--but then again, neither is wearing long sleeves or a headscarf. My point? French culture is clearly saturated, in public and in private, with cultural references to Christianity. Laicité in that regard is in no way the absolute it is mythically said to be. Now Muslims are bringing other cultural forms into the public sphere. If these allusions to religious adherence are offensive, ban them--and ban the name Christian, ban all the saints' names that dot the map, really BAN religion--or not. But don't just do it to the people who aren't like you.

larree said...

In fact the ECHR in its ruling sensibly rejected the French government's arguments in defense of the burka ban on the basis of security and women's rights, but then caved in by
recognizing the member state's fuzzy prerogative to remove perceived obstacles - such as a face covering - to social interaction among its citizens. Clearly that does not apply in the case of the burkini. French politicians must have expected the ban would be overturned, so it was really a publicity stunt and the levée de boucliers in support of it just political posturing.