27 April 2010

Sarkuzi will Liberate the Muslim Woman

Picture taken from the campaign of the International Society for Human Rights

Sarkuzi (no, I didn’t get his name wrong. It makes me mad whenever my name is misspelled, so I decided to do the same with names in other languages. See who gets mad now) has come to the rescue of Muslim women. He has promised them liberation from the Burka in the form of legislation. Again, the West has harnessed its legal framework to the benefit of the primitive east. The Burka will be outlawed! Yippee! Freedom from the patriarchal sexist oppression! WRONG!

Yes, we live in an oppressive patriarchal society. Some more oppressive, some less – but all societies are ultimately oppressive and sexist. And we women suffer the most from this structure. The west needs to reevaluate and reconceptualize its notions, concepts and values. The legal system inherently and essentially serves the oppressor. Social change will not come through legislation.

Yes, after this law passes, we will no longer see any veiled women in the streets of France. And that is the ultimate aim of this law – to disinfect the streets from the Burka. Nothing more, nothing less. But has the legislator thought about what will happen to these women? Instead of liberating them from the Burka, this law will only further push them underground – making them completely invisible. Does the legislator think that these women’s husbands will all of a sudden let their women roam the streets of France unveiled? Well, think again! They will continue to wear their Burkas, but as the law will make them outlaws, they will remain at home, hidden from the eyes of society. Thus, this law serves to further oppress the women. Is the legislator so blind? This is such simple logic.

And now to the question: then what is the solution? How do we liberate women? The only way is through attacking the roots of the cause – which is the patriarchal sexist value system. There are many grassroots feminist women’s organizations throughout the world who are committed to eradicating this oppression. Their work is focused on education and awareness-raising rather than on forced, artificial and superficial solutions. Yes, the road is long and difficult, but change is happening – slowly, but surely. So please, dear westerner – if you can’t sincerely help, just leave it to the women themselves to work. Because your solutions – as they are formulated now – are only detrimental and harmful to advancing our rights!


  1. I find this whole issue is a big dilemma. On the one hand, I totally understand where you are coming from. On the other hand, as a Westerner, I find it painful to see women in Burkas in the streets of Europe. I never saw an actual Burka, but I saw women where you could only see the eyes. I agree that it won't help the individual woman to prohibit the Burka, but I think on the level of society we are at least setting a sign that this is where our tolerance ends. It is not pragmatic and it doesn't help anyone, it is rather an insistence that we don't agree with this and we don't have to tolerate this. After all, we are talking about a French law in France. That's not Orientalism as the French are not going on a crusade to the Middle East to rip women of their burkas.

    My gut feeling is that this is a good law.

    Let us discuss this over coffee!


  2. indeed coffee it is my dear "westerner" :)


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