Series 1 – Raay 2

Burkini, Bikini, Burqa, Bur-huh?

It saddens me to know that today the ‘burq-kini’ has been banned in France of all places. Little did I know that the covering of someone’s face or body in this case would intimidate someone so much one day that stripping in public was the way to eradicate this fear.

From going to a time where the length of a woman’s bathing suit was measured to ensure she was covering up, to a time where choosing to cover is now a crime – bewilders me. Women have been oppressed throughout time, but this doesn’t and shouldn’t mean covering up is oppression but solely the individual woman’s choice. It is only when we are forcefully told what we can or cannot do is when people have said too much and the oppression of the woman has once again, begun.

Right from male-lead democracies or dictatorships, even today the number of female MP’s fall short next to men. Laws created do not even include the input of the citizens coming from different walks of life let alone women. It is ridiculous that a woman who was wearing leggings and a 3/4-sleeved top was made to strip and remove her clothing to put the police and government of France at peace. But by the same token with too much removed, our bodies are blurred in the media – Oppression.

Back to France. A country which stood up to being wronged by an over dictating bourgeoisie, who fought for their rights, who began a life changing revolution, who stand up for their freedom till this date are now telling a woman whose faith allegedly links to some disgusting terrorists (I say allegedly as those terrorists are inhumane with no morals or sense and therefore could never stand for a religion, let alone Islam *pshtt*) to strip because covering her body is a threat. Not allowing that women to be free in her country, with her people is what has saddens me and has made France fall in my eyes. Out of every country, not once would I have expected the French to have stripped this woman from her freedom… but maybe I should have seen it coming with the banning of the hijab in certain places?

Women of the world, we need to keep fighting and together, because if our love for each other and each others’ freedom isn’t apparent no one else will fight our battles. You’ve seen the suffragettes fight one not too long ago, our time is now. INCLUSIVE feminism please.

Thierry Migoule, head of municipal services for the town, sought to clarify the ruling’s intent. “We are not talking about banning the wearing of religious symbols on the beach … but ostentatious clothing which refers to an allegiance to terrorist movements which are at war with us,” he said.

WOW. Did man actually just say that?

The fact that such ‘leaders’ (*coughcoughtrumpcoughcough*) are not even educated enough to understand the fact that; firstly, these terrorists stand against everything in Islam, secondly, this woman was around and practicing her religion before ISIS and lastly, when was the last time a nun was stopped from the beach because the way she dresses is very similar to how a hijabi muslim may wish to dress and how many do – is exactly what makes them not fit to lead. May I bring up that Le Pen was out to ban all religious clothing, namely anything ‘muslim’. Did the strict conservative catholic forget that women in the church, catholic women in the church, are required to cover their head or was she going to leave a sort of loop-hole for her squad? Just curious…

This is all just petty and stupid if I may say. Dictating what a woman can or cannot do makes you her oppressor and France just shot up in that list. Not only is this a fight for inclusivity, it is for justice for equity. You can’t set out on a mission to make everyone in your country look the same, differences are beautiful and should be celebrated. Can we schedule this in for the next battle of feminism?

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Series 1 – Raay 1

Soon many south Asians will be celebrating independence on the 14th/15th of this month, but I will not. Rather than celebrating the independence of our ancestors from an oppressive forced raj, I observe an annual country rivalry.

Truthfully, I feel no belonging to either countries though I hold pride in many of their qualities. I just don’t understand why an ethnicity is forced upon me when I do not fully associate myself with it. The ethnicity I tick on a form is where my parents spent less than half their lives, though right next to it sits the ethnicity where my grandparents, their family, my ancestors (all of whom I know of or have spent time with) shed sweat, blood and tears earning a name, making a life.

I am told hilarious stories by my grandmother about how she spent her ‘do (2) anaa’(currency) her father gave her every morning before school. But words and stories are the extents to which I can associate myself with that land, if I ever went there I could probably never call it my home and be forced to take upon the name of a tourist.

These countries which haven’t even reached 70 years from their independence, have decided what history they will teach so if it reaches the border it doesn’t belong to them or their natives anymore for some strange reasons, though the borders were created by the British if I recall correctly?

Slightly off topic, my grandfather was a free-thinker, an activist for causes he believed in, a seeker of knowledge. Not one to stop his search. He passed this on to me as a child. He told me I could do/be anything; to dream high, to educate myself, to fight for what was right (something he continued to teach me after his death when I found some of his belongings from issues he protested for). The man, if alive, today would be amongst the young generation in a BLM protest and I wouldn’t even know but he would be there because of his beliefs. After all, the man was forced to flee his home in ’47 or else suffer the consequences of murder etc. for his religion which didn’t matter prior to August of that year. Did I mention ‘happy independence day!’ Not forgetting to mention how much this tragic event broke him, but also changed him so much, making him so independent that the hatred of him ever being dependent on others rose through the roof.

He only ever wanted to one day finally go back to his home, he promised his wife one day he would eventually take them back. It never happened and he never let another soul know. His wish died with him. His courage keeps me going, but I can’t begin to describe the pain he went through on those few days 69 years ago as well as many others.

I cannot celebrate the next few days, but by all mean you do. Embrace everything you love, but if you are to celebrate remember what you are celebrating. Whilst taking pride in all that you love about your country remember there are many priorities these two neighbours must be discussing and dealing with, together and alone. You may have escaped the oppression you were subject to by the British raj till 1947 but I see other oppressions have taken over. Minorities are suffering for the stupidest of reasons, wars on caste have taken over in every alley way of all villages and cities, equality has by all means not been achieved, women are still not safe and what is freedom again? The issues which must be dealt with are still on rise, many more than just these.

But lastly, the biggest migration ever in 1947 was enough to change people and the world in which they live in, people were ruthlessly murdered by those they considered friends a month ago, we do not need a repeat of this even if it is small. I talk of Kashmir. Its residents (on both sides) should be allowed to decide their fate not to live by someone else’s decisions. Enough were forced out of their homes 69 years ago. Today something else could have been celebrated.

Kainat