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Burqa, a progressive framing

by Bernard Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 09:56:14 AM EST

I haven't had the time to chime in on the subject (and join in the fun?), but I'm in an off-site meeting this afternoon and not all subjects covered there are equally interesting :)

It all started a couple of weeks ago when a couple of lawmakers decided to start a workgroup on the burqa wearing in France; it was supposed to be just a study group, with right wing as well as left wing lawmakers, united by the traditional French secularism ("laïcité").

Until the President, N.Sarkozy, decided this was to good a wedge issue to be left to the Parliament, that is.


Many young women are wearing the scarf (or the burqa or the whatever) on their own choice; yes, many are coerced but many are not; no precise statistics of course on whether this is the last rebellious teenage girls fashion statement or a large scale women lock-in.

Anyway, lawmakers are pondering legislation. Forty years ago, they wanted to prevent women from wearing mini-skirt and wearing pants was also prohibited for women (if I'm not mistaken).

Politicians, who are overwhelmingly white males above fifty, are often trying to legislate what teenage girls and young women can and cannot wear.
Is it just me or am I the only one finding this really, really creepy?

The woman's body is a battleground, not only in the USA. It is none of my business what a woman decides to wear in a free country.

I may like it or not; and yes the burqa is really a "portable prison", and it's purpose is both to keep the woman "in" and the others "out".

I fully agree that some or many of these women are coerced in some way (threat, explicit or implicit, social or family pressure...), so what is to be done?

No easy answer, but my approach is to consider it (the coercion part) as violence against women and children; then it makes sense to use the available laws against such violence and even improve them.

You may note this is not the right wing approach with their "ban the burqa": women are being forced to cover themselves by their radical Muslim family? Let's punish the victim, of course.

There is no reason for the progressives to follow the right on this: forcing a woman to lock herself in a piece of cloth is domestic violence, period.

OK it may be domestic violence that challenges the secular nature of our Republic, but this is violence against vulnerable human beings first.

And while I am really tolerant of other people fashion choices, I am not taking violence against vulnerable people too kindly.

There are police officers who must spend more time fighting neighborhood crimes and domestic violence rather than being forced to spend their time chasing undocumented migrants or provide big scale security detail when our monarch is visiting town.
And there must be more social workers on these cases, and education in the poorer neighborhoods must be improved, it's an investment in our future.

This would be a progressive approach. We don't have to let Mr Sarkozy and friends frame the issue.

Display:
Well, I started a comment in Paving's diary, but it started to run big, so...

At least, we avoided the Cozy Consensus (c)Colman on this one!

by Bernard on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 09:59:33 AM EST
Yeah. We're too busy suffering other cognitive failures.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 10:03:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no reason for the progressives to follow the right on this

Leftists come out in favor of "freedom to" rather than "freedom from" on this issue specifically because the bad guys go the other way, not because it's better than the other option. That lets us ignore the problem that creating a free society without coercion is impossible; or if you don't like that frame, that we can't create a society as free as we'd like. It lets us keep the body-crushing 800 pound gorilla of colonialism in the corner rather than on top of us.

It's a false dichotomy anyway; a generation or two of assimilation and women aren't going to be wearing it anymore.

Also, what poemless said the other day.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 11:41:58 AM EST
While I feel that the burqua creates an uncomfortable social separation, not being Catholic, I feel the same way about the nun's habit, and the priest's collar.  But I think the larger issue is: what makes a woman?

Simone de Beauvoir's writing, especially Le Deuxime Sexe, published in 1949, influenced generations of young women all over the world. The celebrated first sentence of the second part - "On ne naît pas femme on le devient" (Women are made, not born) is regarded as one of the starting points of modern, radical, feminist thought.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/still-the-second-sex-simone-de-beauvoir-centenary-769 122.html

  For the women in burqua societies, the burqua signifies woman.  If you are going to ban burquas, then why not ban lipstick and kitten pumps?  This is obviously ridiculous.  I can imagine why a woman would want to wear a burqua and also why it could be oppressive.   Feminists, from de Beauvoir, have pointed out that women are created; they are not born knowing how to act appropriately as a woman.  True womanhood is a social science.   And feminist scholars have taught us that while girls may be trained to act like "ladies," and to become the women their society expects them to be, the particulars of those expectations differ according to time and place.

Is the burqua clad woman any more hidden than the woman who stays in her house all day and never goes out?  Who sees her?

I am interested in the burqua as a "fashion" sillouette (seriously).  I once saved a page from a magazine a few years ago that showed a model wearing a kind of straight-jacket crossed with a hockey mask twisted around her face and held together with safety pins.  I saw that and thought--let's play with the burqua.  It almost made me think of a body wrapped in toilet paper, or a shroud.  That may be a kind of negative view of the burqua, but perhaps there are more positive ways to see it.  Could it be compared to wearing a combination wig/floppy hat and large sunglasses?  It hides one's identity, or at least separates oneself?  Is it possible that a woman wearing a burqua is more herself, more a strong individual, than is first apparent?  Where I tend to see the burqua as separating, women who wear the burqua, or the chador, may feel a connection with others who are also wearing these signifiers on the streets.   It creates a kind of sisterhood feeling according to Rosiaa-fawzia al-Rawi who wrote a book called Grandmother's Secrets, about her experience growing up in Baghdad.  
 When the women go outside, they throw the big black drape over whatever they happen to be wearing and go out: instant social acceptability.

I don't have an opinion on Sarkosy's burqua regulation, but it seems to me that one question might be why do we feel the need to look at this woman's face?   I am writing here on this website, and you can not see my face.  Maybe I am wearing a burqua.  

I don't have a problem with women draping fabric over their heads in France or the United States.  To me, the bigger problem, outrage really, is the harassment of women in Afghanistan, Iran and elsewhere who do not wear these headcovers.

by jjellin on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 12:09:46 PM EST
While I feel that the burqua creates an uncomfortable social separation, not being Catholic, I feel the same way about the nun's habit, and the priest's collar.

How common is it to see nuns in traditional habits or priests in cassocks in France?  Are there other groups in France that dress in idiosyncratic ways?  In Missouri and northern Arkansas there are Mennonites who dress as though it is the 19th century, though they seem to have adapted to motorized transportation.  I did not see any buggies or wagons out side the KFC where I encountered a dozen or so Mennonites last year.  However, within 150 miles there are Mennonite areas in Missouri  and there are signs and other provisions for buggies along some major roads. In other parts of the country there are Hasidim, Amish and "traditional" Mormon communities with their own style of dress and behavior.

Issues of assimilation vary according to perspective.  The members of these traditional communities worry about their children being assimilated and some of those in the dominant culture worry about lack of assimilation.  I worry about the modeling of authoritarian, hierarchical, patriarchal social patterns in these communities, as I believe that these are inimical to a pluralistic, progressive democracy. But that is hardly a problem confined to these communities and is markedly present in much more widely spread Christian Fundamentalist sects from the Southern Baptists on down to the smaller sects.  To me the question of distinctive dress and manners is less significant than the anti-scientific fundamentalist biblical literalism that so many of these "citizens" espouse.  Having to worry about burqas would be a luxury.    

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 04:53:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
How common is it to see nuns in traditional habits or priests in cassocks in France?

Very rare, and the style of such vestments has been considerably toned down (which of course the fundamentalists of the Lefebvre type complain about).

ARGeezer:

Are there other groups in France that dress in idiosyncratic ways?

Lots, but not according to religious rules (exception for the orthodox Jews LEP mentioned).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jun 27th, 2009 at 08:48:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Roger Cohen's interesting article today on the oppression of Iranian women:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/27/opinion/27cohen.html?ref=opinion

by jjellin on Sat Jun 27th, 2009 at 06:33:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are not alone.  It's totally creepy.  But I take some issue with your frame.

If pressuring women to wear a veil over their head constitutes violence against women in your opinion, then what do you think about pressuring women to wear high heels and under-wire bras and to weigh as little as a 14 yr old boy?  

Hear me out.

On the one hand, I'm not aware of many women outside the entertainment industry who are made to fulfill this bizarro ideal of femininity in the same way we can say that some women are made to wear a burqa to fulfill someone else's bizarro ideal of ideal of femininity.  It's is probably safe to assert that the majority of women in burqa-wearing societies don't have the same legal protection, political representation and economic opportunities that make it easy for them to risk subverting the social norms without dire consequences.  

On the other hand, women like me did not acquire legal protection, political representation and economic opportunities through laws which limited our choices or which replaced one narrowly defined definition of womanhood with another.  Just sayin.

Also, violence against women is real, prevalent, dangerous and requires a lot of resources to combat.  It's hard enough for advocates to find those resources as it is now.  Let's not make it more difficult for them by trivializing the matter.  

I do feel that if these women are threatened with harm by their fathers or husbands if they do not wear a burqa, the authorities should go after the those fathers or husbands for threatening them with violence.  But I'm not convinced that all women who wear a burqa do so because they fear the consequences.  That might sound mad to you, you may still think "Well, maybe not explicitly, but at some point they've been coerced to dress like that because no one would willingly dress like that, or those who would have a corrupted idea of self-worth..."   I'm even inclined to think that myself.  

But I often hear the very same thing said about women who dress in a way that conforms to western standards of beauty.   I have to leave the house everyday knowing that at some point someone is going to leer at my body, scrutinize my physical appearance, my ass, my chest, my face, my legs.  Sometimes they do it in a way that feels like a violation.  Sometimes it makes me feel horrible, just horrible.  Many academics have said that this is a form of violence against women.  But ... sometimes it feels nice, flattering, powerful.  And I suspect that sometimes it would feel nice, safe, comfortable!, mysterious to walk around with a sheet draped over my head with only room for me to see where I am going.  

The point is this - whether I am totally covered  head-to-toe or strutting about in a miniskirt or whatever in between, it's really only "liberating" if I feel I've done it by my choice, for my reasons.  And regardless how I dress, burqa or bikini, there will always be someone out there who looks at me and thinks, "Woman. You're doing it wrong."

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 01:32:03 PM EST
And regardless how I dress, burqa or bikini, there will always be someone out there who looks at me and thinks, "Woman. You're doing it wrong."

Or, "That is offensive!"

by jjellin on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 01:45:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
poemless:
If pressuring women to wear a veil over their head constitutes violence against women in your opinion, then what do you think about pressuring women to wear high heels and under-wire bras and to weigh as little as a 14 yr old boy?

No disagreement here, violence is not limited to religion inspired head covering gear. The societal pressure for high heels or BMI under 20 is more diffused but still there (I'll plead ignorance on what an under-wire bra is exactly).
Hear me out.
Believe me, I do :)

And yes, it's also my beef with the right wing framing that is seeking to "help" the women by limiting their choices, as you pointed out.

poemless:

And I suspect that sometimes it would feel nice, safe, comfortable!, mysterious to walk around with a sheet draped over my head with only room for me to see where I am going.
Quoting myself from above: your fashion choices are none of my business. And if some are saying, "Woman. You're doing it wrong," well, it's their problem, not yours.
by Bernard on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 05:30:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I personally find the Burqa appalling, but I also know that comes from my inherent western perspective and I have to take myself and my opinions with a grain of salt.

But you are hitting on important points here.

One perspective that I have not seen touched upon yet is the legal perspective.  I am not sure how such a ban would hold up in a court of law.  I had these reservations with the banning of the Hajib in public schools.

I am not a jurist, so I do not know American nor French law.  I do, however, consider myself fairly educated on Enlightenment philosophy and principles.

My concern comes down to consent and will.  Specifically, the prime Enlightenment principle of self-determination whether it is the individual, nation, or a groups of people who agree on a constituted social contract.

There must be room to accept that some people of their own volition wish to wear a garment of religious significance.

Here's the problem, how do we determine, in the eyes of such a law in agreement with our Enlightenment principles, who wishes to express themselves in such a manner and who is forced to.

Or, let me drudge up some European baggage just for the sake of argument.  The argument as I understand it is that the Republic of France is secular and therefore such garments of religious expression will not be tolerated in schools, etc.  On the face of such argument I agree.

Nevertheless, in the arbitrary eyes of the court, this same logic can be applied to say, a young man wishing to wear the Yalmulka.  Now, who in Europe today would try to prohibit Jews from wearing a religious garment?

Of course, to our sense proportion a burqa is not a Yamulka.  But it seems to be irrelevant legally as both are an expression of religiosity.  So if the Hajib is banned, then the Jewish yamulka is also as well as the Burqa.

And this is precedented on only those who wish to wear such garments as per their individual faith and their own self-determination.

This is where I see a problem arising between Enlightenment principles of a secular state separate from religion and self-determination and liberty to religion of choice.

Frankly, I don't have an answer.

The only answer I have is to support those who feel pressure from their community to act in such a way (e.g. dressing in a burqa) against their free will and belief.  But for those who actually wish to and the state prohibits, is where I find this becoming problematic.

"Schiller sprach zu Goethe, Steck in dem Arsch die Flöte! Goethe sagte zu Schiller, Mein Arsch ist kein Triller!"

by Jeffersonian Democrat (rzg6f@virginia.edu) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 08:52:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My concern comes down to consent and will. Specifically, the prime Enlightenment principle of self-determination whether it is the individual, nation, or a groups of people who agree on a constituted social contract.
If you phrase it this way, I think there is a contradiction in terms. If individual X belongs to group A, and if group A has incompatible ideas to individual X, what is to be done? Which has precedence? If it is always X, then you aren't allowing self-determination for groups of people, whereas if it is A, then you aren't allowing self-determination individuals, except in the trivial cases where no conflict arises. The typical libertarian viewpoint allows self-determination of X over A, while the typical communist viewpoint prefers A over X, for example.

There must be room to accept that some people of their own volition wish to wear a garment of religious significance.
But are they proselytising?

Nevertheless, in the arbitrary eyes of the court, this same logic can be applied to say, a young man wishing to wear the Yalmulka. Now, who in Europe today would try to prohibit Jews from wearing a religious garment?
In schools or in the street or in a temple?

And this is precedented on only those who wish to wear such garments as per their individual faith and their own self-determination.
If we're talking about schools, can a child have religious faith without coercion? Can a child self-determine?

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
by martingale on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 10:48:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
These are precisely the contradictory questions that have been rolling around in my mind about this particular issue.

Especially the x over a or a over x.  Now it never occurred to me that the wearing of some clothing of religious significance was proselytising.  Even with a less explosive example of say, traditional Mennonite dress, that just didn't occur to me.

I am also not quite sure if coercion if the right word for a child.  A child will believe things they get from their environment, whether it's the tooth fairy or the guy nailed to a cross 2000 years ago, until they develop critical thinking and questioning skills, if I recall correctly, around 10 to 12 years of age.  Now if after those skills are developed and they are hindered or if the skills are somehow retarded during their development, then I think the question of coercion is appropriate to ask.

Like I said, I don't have an answer, just that these questions are based on those who wish to wear something, not on those situations where a person is forced to do to religious and familial pressures.  I think that is where the argument lies, and I find the back and forth here interesting with solid arguments on both sides.  But there doesn't seem to be an easy solution.

"Schiller sprach zu Goethe, Steck in dem Arsch die Flöte! Goethe sagte zu Schiller, Mein Arsch ist kein Triller!"

by Jeffersonian Democrat (rzg6f@virginia.edu) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 08:32:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would depend on the person wearing the symbols and the in-your-face-ness of it, I suppose. Not everyone is explicitly trawling for converts of course, but sometimes they are and looking out of place can be a conversation starter.

At the benign end, distinctive clothes and symbols still imply branding and advertising. If the symbol is reasonably hidden away so that nobody can see it, then it's purpose is clearly personal.

As to kids, school does not normally extend beyond (legal) childhood. So I do not see any conflict that can arise in general, ignoring trivialities. When the young adult decides to take up religion, he or she will no longer be in the position of having to put up with a secular environment.

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 07:44:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
poemless:
On the other hand, women like me did not acquire legal protection, political representation and economic opportunities through laws which limited our choices or which replaced one narrowly defined definition of womanhood with another.

Good point, well put.

Thanks for setting your opinion and feelings out in this way. I don't disagree with them. I don't see what a ban would accomplish (or how it would be applied), and the difficulty of proving coercion so as to get after the real villains (in those cases where this applies, because there are peer-group pressure, an identity wish, or simple free-will choice that are potentially part of the mix) makes any legislative effort unlikely to succeed.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 10:28:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent comment.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 10:42:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I said in Pavings diary, this reminds me how the right in America speaks of the Mexican immigrants except in America the Mexicans are criticized because a lot of them don't speak English well and still converse in Spanish.

That won't fly in France because most Nort African immigrants and their descendents speak French very well. So how to attack them? By the funny way some of their women may dress. It's  racism pure and simple.

The government, could, if it wished, try passing laws against all those those funny looking otrthodox Jews. Oh wait, that was tried once and didn,t work out too well.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!

by LEP on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 03:26:33 PM EST
Having been raised in a culture where certain norms are instilled from birth it is hard to say whether some is being coerced when they continue the traditions when they move to a new place.

Just because someone moves to, say, France does mean they have changed who they view themselves as internally. Requiring them to conform to a strange culture is going to feel like coercion to them.

The solution seems to me to treat those who immigrate to a new society differently from those who are brought up in it, even if they are the children of these same immigrants. This means that children have to conform to the essentials of the dominant culture, at least as far as education is concerned. This has been tried with mixed success as in Turkey where head scarves in school were prohibited and are now a bone of contention after being banned for decades.

In "liberal" western societies allowing parents to warp their kids in the way they see fit is taken as a basic liberty, hence the existence of groups like the Amish and Hasidim in the US. Personally I'd like to see all such schools banished and all students go to public school. If you want to teach your kids your own traditions then do it after school, on weekends or in the summer.

I realize this idea will never go anywhere. It is the goal of such parents to prevent their kids from learning to think for themselves that motivates them to segregate them in the first place.

Some evils, just can't be fixed. On the other hand about 50% of kids of evangelical Christian parents drop out of the movement as adults in the US and kids attending Catholic parochial schools grow up using contraception and abortion at rates similar to non-Catholics.

So a practical compromise would be that only those who entered France after the age of 18 or so, would be allowed to continue wearing burqas or similar modes of dress. How this would be enforced I have no idea.  

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 04:45:07 PM EST
Having been raised in a culture where certain norms are instilled from birth

As opposed to the culture where there are no norms instilled from birth?

Just sayin' ... we are social animals, we will perceive regular patterns of behavior and invent norms out of whole cloth if need be.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 11:12:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
rdf:

Personally I'd like to see all such schools banished and all students go to public school. If you want to teach your kids your own traditions then do it after school, on weekends or in the summer.

I realize this idea will never go anywhere. It is the goal of such parents to prevent their kids from learning to think for themselves that motivates them to segregate them in the first place


This is already more or less implemented in Sweden, for example. Children between 7 and 16 must attend school. Either a public school, or a private school that fulfils obligations from the state of what must be taught. (i.e it has been certified. Home-schooling does not exist) A new school law has been proposed which will no longer allow the exemption of students from attending classes for religious or cultural reasons.

The rationale for this is concerns right of the child. The child has a right to learn about sex and everything around that. The child has a right to physical educations regardless of what parents might think. I don't know if this also applies to religious studies as well, but it ought. In particular in multicultural societies, everyone should know a little bit about the diversity that exist in this matter. Parents don't own their children and don't have the right to bring them up any way they choose. (This is by the way the case in most countries. See child abuse laws, which also limit which sorts of upbringing one can legally submit one's child to. In my opinion it is a matter of degree only, which things are chosen to be explicitly legislated.)

The issue is never the right to teach children one's (or one's group's) traditions. Go right ahead. Enroll them in studies of a particular religion if you wish. What is at stake are those cases where parents demand that their precious offspring do not learn and know about some thing or other.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 11:08:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
all great points, someone.

i think we have to face the fact that asking some of these women to bare their faces or hair is like asking us to uncover our genitals in public.

it's not an adaptation one can expect to be friction-free, and i think should be done gradually, ie leave the headscarf alone, but ban hoodies and the burka in public. what your family does in its own home should be as much as possible their own business, unless it contravenes the law.

if people choose to immigrate to a country, it should be obvious they will have to re-adapt to many things, the weather, the local mores, and sundry conventions if they want to integrate. if they don't, they should be diplomatically informed as to why europe has decided that women here should be free to express their taste and individuality through their attire, even if it doesn't please everyone. they are free to go somewhere else after all.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 02:09:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
received by email...


Quelle différence y a -t-il entre un islamiste membre du groupe salafiste pour la prédication et le combat et un économiste néo libéral ?

Un membre du groupe salafiste est certain de détenir une explication totale du monde qui inclut la marche à suivre pour toutes les circonstances. Il perçoit mal le réel et tente de l'ignorer. Symbole de cet isolement sa femme porte la burqua.

Par contre la femme des économiste néolibéraux ne portent pas de burqua. Pour l'instant.

What's the difference between a neolib economist and a salafist?

A salafist is a person certain to know the truth about the world ans the path to follow in all cirumstances. He ignores evil and cuts itself from it. The burqa on his wife is a symbol of this distance from evil.

The wife of a neoliberal economist does not wear a burqa. Yet

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 05:47:28 PM EST
Is that supposed to be an insult?   Or, a warning.  Or both.
by jjellin on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 08:23:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unless you're a fundamental salafist, a neoliberal economist or easily offended by a joke - which it is. It's pretty subtle.
by Nomad on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 06:12:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I guess I didn't realize it was a joke.  Maybe lost in translation?
by jjellin on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 08:37:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see your translation, but my French is not that great Isn't he talking about reality and isolation, not evil?

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 03:07:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A slightly looser translation in the spirit of the joke:

What's the difference between a member of the Algerian Salafist Group and a Neoliberal economist?

A Salafist Group member is someone who has a complete and total understanding of the world and knows exactly what the right thing to do is in all possible circumstances. He perceives true Evil wherever it occurs around him, and tries to ignore it as best he can in the meantime. His wife wears the burqa for protection.

Whereas, in total contrast, a Neolib's wife doesn't actually wear the burqa.

For now.

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 04:17:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right, LEP. Il perçoit mal le réel means "he doesn't understand reality well", or "his perception of reality is weak".
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 10:33:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or just possibly "he perceives reality as bad".
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 10:43:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
Il perçoit mal le réel means "he doesn't understand reality well", or "his perception of reality is weak".

That would apply very well to neolib economists, no?

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!

by LEP on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 11:30:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Erm, kinda doubt it, J.  Most neoliberal economists are in the US and Britain, and I dunno if you've ever seen American and British chicks deal with the Women-Are-Property types, but I have.  Hilarity normally ensues, because they find out real quick that American and British girls soooo aren't gonna take that shit.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 10:46:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French leftists are pathetic, how on Earth they could be bought over by Sarkozy's description of burqa?

What he proposes is totally unacceptable in civilized society, it's restriction on rights of individual. Even less free societies like of China or Russia did not do this kinds of thing.

His agenda is fascist, period. All people who support him, including Jerome a Paris should be ashamed.

by FarEasterner on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 06:35:44 AM EST
to the burqa issue.  The ban on the burqa strikes me as a deep and dangerous affront to personal liberties that is incompatible with Western values.

I give you a four rating, because I think you made an interesting point in noting that even China and Russia feel comfortable with people who wear religious and cultural dress (although of course in China, there are four more pernicious forms of religious and ethnic persecution of the Uighurs and Tibetans).

I gave it only a 3, however, because -- with respect -- in it I think you make the same error as Sarkozy: i.e. you presume to understand the intent and symbolic implications of an action and based on your presumed subjective understanding you attack it with highly charged and contentious labels.  Sarkozy thinks his interpretation of the burqa is self-evidently correct and something that he can make formal policy of the state; you believe that state banning of forms of dress is "totally unacceptable in civilized society" and people who support it should be ashamed.  Sarkozy calls the "A sign of debasement", "prisoners behind a screen", and "deprived of all identity", you call him a "fascist".  In short, both you and Sarkozy demonize the object of your intense emotional displeasure, and thereby turn that object into an inaccurate simplification.

I have to admit, "fascist" is a term that did come to my mind immediately when I read about Sarkozy's words on the burqa myself.  But a quick look-up of the word in Wikipedia cooled that hot emotional reaction I had very quickly: while there are a few tenuous and superficial connections that may suggest themselves related to nationalism, suppression of ethnic minorities, and anti-individualism, I believe it is inaccurate to use the term fascism which involves far more than these elements, and does these in significantly different manner than Sarkozy proposes with the burqa.

Emotionally, I am still extremely against banning the burqa (or any other piece of ethnic clothing) in principle.  However, the discussion in Monday's thread was extremely helpful to me, because points made my many people within it forced me to re-examine this emotional reaction of mine and its rational basis.  I still feel that I am "right", but I recognize first of all that the issue is much more complex than I had realized, and second, there may -- I emphasize may -- be a framing of the issue in which such a ban, in particular cases, are just and justifiable within a free and democratic society (again, my my gut is very skeptical of this, but the arguments made in that thread force me to accept the intellectual possibility that one might exist.)

So, all this to say that, while I sympathize with and daresay understand your feelings and way of seeing the issue to a large degree with respect to the banning of burqas, turbans, and other ethnic clothing, I would ask that you consider at least the logical possibility that there is another way to look at the issue that may be rationally consistent and morally well-grounded and in good faith, but that this alternative perspective is not apparent to us simply because we have not yet been sufficiently exposed to and educated about it.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 09:05:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
marco:
The ban on the burqa strikes me as a deep and dangerous affront to personal liberties that is incompatible with Western values.
It is very French, though, since the 3rd Republic.

What does that say about your meaning of "Western Values" and, say, Jerome's?

Or is France not "Western"?

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 09:17:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
are Western values.

Sorry, I am seriously behind on a project, and while your questions deserve a much better response, I cannot give one right now (not only for lack of time, but because I am not sure how to answer it.)

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 09:28:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no ban on the burqa. There is just Sarkozy throwing red meat to an electorate he intends to hold on to.

As far as I'm concerned, the discussion in the other day's Salon was around marco's reaction, that the state in a "free" country had no business telling people what to wear.

As for what transpired during the discussion, and afterwards, in which France is considered by a large number of people here as a reprehensible and "unfree" country, it seems to me considerably influenced by long years of disinformation and anti-French propaganda in the largely English-language-inspired MSM. In which France is of course "not Western" - not properly.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 09:31:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, you know what I think of "Western" ...

That doesn't seem to be entirely a fair summation of the discussion: for a start, the idea of a ban on the burqa, possibly a blanket one,  was at the core of the discussion I was in, as was the question about what the state had business regulating.

There is a difference in assumptions about where the state should be allowed interfere and how seriously it should be taken, and I think it's probably multi-dimensional: the limits are different in different directions in different traditions.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 09:43:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not like France is not proud of the way it suppressed regional languages in the late 19th century through the educational system - which also was used to instil secular republican values.

It's not all bad, but it's not all good either and it's not English propaganda (my French language teachers in the Instutut Français de Madrid didn't see anything wrong with Jacobinism, just like Jerome).

So what I am suggesting is that a burqa ban is compatible with French Jacobinism. Not that Sarkozy doesn't have his own motives.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 09:43:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it's about any country that claims/aspires to be "free".

what particular country happens to implement such bans* is of secondary importance at most.

(should the U.S. be given a pass on the death penalty or abortion rights or national health coverage because of its own particular national history and cultural attitudes towards these issues?)

*including partial bans, in schools, government offices, and other related public "secular" spaces.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 10:26:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
marco: should the U.S. be given a pass on the death penalty or abortion rights or national health coverage because of its own particular national history and cultural attitudes towards these issues?

or that most American of issues:  gun rights

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 10:27:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
marco:
should the U.S. be given a pass on the death penalty or abortion rights or national health coverage because of its own particular national history and cultural attitudes towards these issues?
And should it be given a pass on the ban of religious displays in public buildings? Such as, prayer in schools, a plaque with the 10 commandments (the "tablets of the Law") in a courthouse, and so on...

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 10:29:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru: And should it be given a pass on the ban of religious displays in public buildings? Such as, prayer in schools, a plaque with the 10 commandments (the "tablets of the Law") in a courthouse, and so on...

Absolutely not.  Excellent point.  Unfortunately, I'm afraid U.S. law may not make these practices unambiguously illegal.  However, as I see them,  they and others (such as the swearing in of government officials and court witnesses on a Bible) are flagrant violations of the spirit and principle of the separation of religion and state.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 10:50:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, can a country be "free" and enforce separation of Church and State?

At this point I should roll out my distinction between "separation of Church and State", "secularism" and "freedom of conscience".

For instance, Germany doesn't have "separation of Church and State" [the State collects taxes on behalf of the Church(es)!] but it is "secular" and has "freedom of conscience". Now, one could argue that Germany is in fact "more secular" than the US despite the US having "separation of Church and State" because religion plays a more prominent role in public life in the US than it does in Germany.

In fact, is is possible that given "freedom of conscience" there is an inverse correlation between "separation of Church and State" and "secularism". Europe, having been ravaged by wars of religion and broken up into relatively homogeneous nation-states, tends to have state religions but also makes religion a private affair. Whereas the US has "separation of Church and State" but the absence of a State religion allows religion to become a public affair. Couple that with "freedom of speech" and you get a thriving "marketplace of religions" and a prominent role of religion in public life, as opposed to the European model where there's a "national religion" but religion has a limited role in public life.

Sort of like monarchies surviving in those countries where they accept a "figurehead" role, and being replaced by republics where the monarchs have tried to meddle in politics.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 11:08:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Um, what are we being given a pass for in those cases?  School prayer in unconstitutional in the public school system, and the 10 Commandments monument in Alabama was removed on order of the courts.

And why abortion rights?  If I remember correctly, we actually have pretty liberal abortion law.

Death penalty I'll grant you partial credit on, since it's either been legally banned or practically banned in the overwhelming majority of states, and I see little reason for that trend to not continue (especially if we can manage to pawn Texas off on its fellow Third World country to the South).

And I'll grant you national health insurance for the time being, but we'll see on that one.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 10:32:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The third world country to the south that had its last execution in 1961 ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 04:03:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 09:54:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
@ Colman Migeru, marco:

all fair points, I'm just taking a kick at what I see as a certain amount of CW on French secularism and "France's Muslim problem" that have surfaced here and there, and not just in FarEasterner's remarks. France doesn't necessarily get it all wrong, any more than the "multicultural" countries get it all right.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 10:40:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Disagreeing with you is not necessarily fascist: try and stay reasonably polite, please.  Calling people fascists, or supporters of facists, unless it's factually supported, isn't polite. Sarko doesn't have anywhere near the conviction required to be facists. He's simply an amoral opportunist.

Note also that among the assumptions several of the anti-burqa commentators here are making is that a blanket ban would be impossible anyway, so that there's no danger of one, and that the discussion is actually about a ban in state buildings and such things. That isn't what Sarko is talking about, but what he says and what he does tend to be separate issues.

It also seems to me that certainly China and the USSR, and possibly Russia have been responsible for rather worse suppressions of religions, and in China's case seem to be actively involved in one right now, as your previous impassioned comments about Tibet would indicate.

Civilised societies place all sorts of constraints on individual rights. That's how you know they're civilised societies. The question is whether this is an appropriate one or not: I'd agree that a blanket ban seems pretty extreme, but one limited to government buildings would be less oppressive, and maybe could be justified on practical grounds.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 09:21:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He's simply an amoral opportunist sniveling little weasel.

FTFY.

Other than that, what he said.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 10:39:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
first of all I disagree with your description of civilized societies, in this case Myanmar or North Korea will be champions on civilization.

The erstwhile USSR and existing PRC are (were) communist societies where religion is (was) regarded as a poison for masses. but even with police state they did not require such measures adopted by France.

Maybe out of sheer ignorance as Jerome a Paris showed when he said in reply to me that Sikhs can freely wear turbans outside schools. One of the basic requirements in Sikh religion is mandatory wearing of turbans for men, and not wearing them makes them eligible for expulsion from Sikh community.

On comparison if French authorities thought they can target Muslim community with the ban on turbans - there is no such prescription in islam to demand from followers to wear turban. it is just a traditional headdress, due to hot climate. And muslims will not suffer the fate of French Sikhs.

secondly about my politeness - sometimes it is necessary to give wake up calls to some, especially if I see someone slipping gradually into grey area which blur distinction between fierce nationalist and actual fascist sympathiser.

I have noticed regrettable evolution of some of the members of this online community.

by FarEasterner on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 01:22:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am really sorry to note your tendency to get angry, use insults, abuse troll and warning ratings, and make the excuse of "a wake-up call". You know you are highly appreciated here, but please stay within limits. Above all as there is no need for a "wake-up call".

Your opinion of France and what happens in this country is apparently derived from unreliable sources. There is no ban on wearing anything in France, except for overt signs of religion in state schools. That ban concerns Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, or any other religion, and does not "target" Sikhs. Outside state schools, there is no ban on wearing anything, including Sikh turbans.

FarEasterner:

sheer ignorance as Jerome a Paris showed when he said in reply to me that Sikhs can freely wear turbans outside schools.

The ignorance is yours, FarEasterner. And you use it to insult. That is why your comment is getting a warning (2) from me.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 01:35:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I also gave you a warning this time.

Read my letter carefully:

wearing turbans for Sikhs is MANDATORY unlike for muslims. also male Sikhs cannot cut their hair. if they are forced to part with their turbans and worse hair they become eligible for expulsion from Sikh community.

note: because of separation of Punjab by British colonisers in 1947 dozens of mln Sikhs had fled now Pakistani part of Punjab and became refugees and are scattered across the world.

French bloggers here tried to mask defence of Sarkozy's views under usual anti-americanism and French nationalism but this is untenable.

by FarEasterner on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 01:43:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Read me carefully, dear friend:

My comment is measured and reasonable and in no case calls for a warning. Your rating of my comment is simple retaliation, which does not speak well of you.

You stated that Jerome a Paris was ignorant when he said Sikhs were free to wear turbans outside schools in France. You have not attempted to show any evidence for what you claim. Yet you permit yourself to slander Jerome and this "online community" with accusations of sliding into "fascism".

Measure your words. Make sure you really know what you are talking about.

And please stop behaving so badly.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 01:52:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you ratings are also not speaking good for you.

your comment was not measured and apparently you did not read my letter carefully.

Here is Jerome's comment I quoted above:

you sound like the smokers who call non smokers requesting them to follow the rules about not smoking in certain places "totalitarian" and "intolerant."

Sikhs cannot wear turbans in public schools. They can wear them in the street and in private schools, if that's so important to them.

Why I call it ignorant I already explained, why it is not possible for Sikhs 'not to wear turbans in public schools'.

by FarEasterner on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 01:59:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Please stop abusing the ratings system: it is not there to express disagreement. If you continue to abuse it we will simply suspend your ability to rate comments and undo your previous ratings.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 04:21:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Really? How many times did you use mega troll and troll rating besides warning? I used it once to apparently Chinese troll who is not here anymore and "warning" to comments of three bloggers, which I explained elsewhere. If this constitutes "abuse" of the system so be it, I don't care.
by FarEasterner on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 06:40:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Me? Lots of times. For disruptive behaviour, not because I disagreed with the comment. Look, the rating system is there for a reason, is part of the reason this place works reasonably well, and must not be abused. If you can't use it properly, just don't use it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 06:50:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You stated that Jerome a Paris was ignorant when he said Sikhs were free to wear turbans outside schools in France

I don't know about ignorant but it is at the very least terribly insensitive.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 28th, 2009 at 12:32:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FarEasterner:
wearing turbans for Sikhs is MANDATORY

Then they might have to change that rule in order to conform to the superior law of the state, if such a law is made. It is really that simple. In many European systems religion is subservient to the state, and has to follow laws as made by the state. They are expected to change in accordance with law. Any religion incapable of changing in this manner is dead in the long term.

(I am not entirely sure that I believe that the law as proposed in France will have beneficial effects. But on principle I have nothing against it. For me, the right to practise religion is not a right to do whatever you want in the name of religion. It is the right to practise religion to the extent that it complies with secular law. When the two conflict, the religious mandate must yield. No ifs or buts.)

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 04:02:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
why they should change rules prescribed by 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh in 17th century? 10th Guru actually shaped out Sikh community as it exists today and after him there was no Guru.

If French authorities wanted to discriminate against muslims instead they discriminate against Sikhs. That's simple fact that the French (both government and the public) it seems just refuse to admit.

Life in denial about this discrimination of particular religious community will not return good name to France which is tarnished in Asia quite to extent. Just today one of the main news on Indian TV was L'Oreal racist scandal.

by FarEasterner on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 06:29:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
why they should change rules prescribed by 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh in 17th century?
Don't be too upset. Sometimes, people just change the rules.

For example, in the late 18th century, priests and nobles were beheaded by the thousands, and their lands and wealth confiscated for the good of the people. They didn't care for what a certain Jewish prophet of the first century said, either. It all still turned out well in the end.

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 07:11:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dastar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In 2008, Baljinder Badesha, a Sikh man living in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, lost a court case in which he challenged a $110 ticket received for wearing a turban instead of a helmet while riding his motorcycle.[12][19] He intends to appeal the case. [20

Sometimes rules must be adapted.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 07:34:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not so sure. Laws can be bad, even morally repungant. For example the Nuremberg Laws of the Third Reich. The source of the moral reasons to oppose a bad secular law might be religion or it might be something else.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 07:06:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course laws can be bad, and should in that case be resisted. What I was trying to say is that just because a law conflicts with some religion doesn't make it a bad law. But religions and the secular state are not equal partners that must negotiate over legislation. Religious groups should be accorded as much weight as other lobbying groups.

For this particular law, I am not sure it is a good one. I.e. it might make more harm than good in discouraging the fracturing of society into insulate 'communities'. I don't think it is out right morally reprehensible either. And I think the area it is considering should be within the grasp of what the state could legislate.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 08:02:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, that's just wrong - for a start you've just excluded civil resistance as a legitimate tactic for religious people. You're basically arguing that might makes right.

Secular law is not legitimate merely because it's enacted: in particular it seems wrong to regulate religious practice that doesn't affect anyone else's rights. Might as well say the state has a right to regulate hair colour. Why shouldn't people have the right to indulge their delusions so long as it doesn't harm others?

On top of that, it seems impossible that a ban on head coverings or pink hair wouldn't be enforced selectively by the state.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 07:36:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the state has the right to regulate hair colour. Would be a bit stupid, but I don't see why it would not have the right.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 08:04:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How do Sikhs attend school in France nowadays? I came across this - please ignore the inflammatory introduction:

RDN Article: Sikhs in France Plan New School to Combat Turban Ban (France)

President Sarkozy introduced a law as home minister in 2004 banning essentially the headscarf for Muslim girls going to school; but the law also roped in the Sikh children.

"The first day I went, they asked me to take the turban off, now I cover my head with a handkerchief and go," says a Sikh boy.

As the French see it, they are defending the principle of secular separation of religion from state. But for the minorities, it is a denial of religious rights.

Sundri Kaur a resident of Paris says, "In France I think a lot of people want to try to understand but we need time to understand and I think it is very important for Sikh people to be present, be involved, in action, political, social and cultural, and time after time I think French people can understand."

Teaching the French a lesson or two is Gurdial Singh, who is starting a school where children of all religions can practice their faith openly. The classrooms are ready for the students who can in a sense circumvent the French system.

I don't know if this was previously debated when the legislation to ban religious symbols from the French schools was prepared. Does France allow private, religious schools?

It is a struggle I find the hardest - a choice over individuality versus conformity according to the state. It's one where I empathise immediately for the individual choice and state's intervention should be as limited as possible.

by Nomad on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 06:42:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, France allows private religious schools, and indeed practically all private schools are religious.

The number of Sikhs in France is small, and the number of cases where boys were expelled from a state school over the turban can be counted on one hand. Yet the Sikh Diaspora and Sikhs in India have made a huge noise about it. Mr Gurdial Singh managed to get in the world news a lot with his school project, but I haven't been able to find news of it since 2007.

Baptised Sikhs (baptism may take place at any age, and so concern schoolagers) are not only under the obligation of wearing a head-covering. This is only one of five obligations, called the Five Ks. These include the wearing on a sash of a knife called the kirpan. This comes at a time when some schools are likely to be equipped with metal detector screening to keep weapons out of the classroom.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 07:36:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well... I found this from 2008:

Sikhs Open School for All French Students :: SikhNN :: The Next Generation of News and Views


Ever since his son, Jasvir Singh Khalsa, 15, was kicked out of his school in 2004, Gurdial Singh has been fighting court battles and political battles in France and in India so that his son could attend school with his dastaar.

But the French law that bans the wearing of religious articles in public schools has outlasted his son who will be moving on to a university this fall.

"I have met with (Indian President) Abdul Kalam, (Congress Party leader) Sonia Gandhi and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee," Singh said. They all said they would try and would let him know.

But when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh came to visit France in 2006, "he would not meet with us," Singh said.

Frustrated, Gurdial Singh, a construction-business owner, is opening a school for grades 10 to 12, called "college" in France. It is staffed and ready to open this fall. And unlike French public schools, it is open to all and accepts all articles of faith, Singh said at his office in Bobigny, on the outskirts of Paris. The school is next door to his office building.

...though it was supposed to be opened in 2007 already.

Also:

Sikhs take French turban ban in schools to the EHRC: Bindmans LLP

Publication date: 3 June 2008

Bindmans announced today that they filed a legal challenge last Friday to the French law which banned the turban in public schools in 2004. Supported by UNITED SIKHS, the cases before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg will be the first against France since it passed a law in March 2004 banning the wearing of conspicuous religious signs, including the Sikh turban, in public schools.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 08:05:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You found that Gurdial Singh is still making noises. And making false allegations:

DoDo:

unlike French public schools, it is open to all and accepts all articles of faith

French state schools are open to all and accept all faiths - but no overt signs of religion in school.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 08:35:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the circumstances, it appears that the Shere Punjab Complexe is there but failed to attract students.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 12:54:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
France allows private religious schools, and indeed practically all private schools are religious.

If private schools with religious foundations are allowed in France, I don't see too much of a problem remaining. As long as the state doesn't restrict people with different ideas on schooling. I do wonder whether wearing a kirpan at a private school will be allowed by either school, or government...

Are private religious schools in France susceptible for  goverment funding?

by Nomad on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 08:24:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are almost all government funded, subject to approval in terms of curriculum and teacher qualifications, essentially.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 08:36:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, it encourages the devout to segregate themselves, but that's the point of the ban, isn't it?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 08:36:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If it's the point, that means the ban was designed with such an intent in mind. Why is it not an effect?

Is segregation of the devout good or bad?

by Nomad on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 09:04:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not going to go overboard defending a ban I was doubtful about when it was proposed (though it has worked out more consensually than I expected at the time), but no, the point was not segregation of the devout. The point was maintaining state schools as a secular space.

That the most devout ie fundamentalist may move out to private schools is an effect, though even that should be qualified by the fact that quite a number - especially Catholics - had already opted for their own schools, long ago.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 11:12:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Personally, I have the "radical" view (formulated already when I was a child) that there should be no parental "right" for indoctrination. From which follows that schools should offer, or at least enable the review of, multiple worldviews. And, conversely, an opposition to religion-based private schools (which I see in perfect parallel to something most people would find repellant: schools based on explicit party ideology).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 01:01:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
I'm not going to go overboard defending a ban I was doubtful about when it was proposed
My sentiments exactly.
by Bernard on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 04:59:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nomad:
a choice over individuality versus conformity according to the state

How is conforming to what FarEasterner tells us is mandatory, a matter of individuality? It is conformity to one's original cultural and religious group.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 07:38:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cultural background and/or religion form part of a person's individuality, and most people are born into them. A person can either stick with the commitments of that culture/religion, but can also break with them. The latter is not necessarily an easy thing to do, and often entangles with family pride, peer pressure, honour killings and all sorts of nastiness which should be made punnishable by the state. But ultimately it does (or should) boil down to what the person wants.
by Nomad on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 09:05:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Teenage peer pressure, family pride, punishable by the state ? Really ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 09:15:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't that the rationale behind the idea that this is somehow a strike against patriarchy?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 09:43:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose.

Supposedly in some strongly muslim neighbourhoods, girls of muslim origin not wearing the veil would be considered as "whores" by their classmates.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 09:46:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sloppy writing on my part. I didn't mean such things as peer pressure and family pride. (And I suspect such things are not even possible to catch in law.)

I do mean honour killings/rape/beatings/etc, the kind of stuff that people shouldn't do to each other period, no matter what kind of motivation lies behind the act.

by Nomad on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 10:13:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But then, if the veil becomes strongly enforced on teenage girls through peer and family pressure, is that ok ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 10:27:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It depends on the person whether the person finds it okay, honestly.

If certain behaviour enforced through peer and family pressure is perceived as a problem, then push for attractive conditions where it easier for a person to defy these peer and family pressures. I think that's all one can do.

by Nomad on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 10:43:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Considering the high school environment, do you know of any other methods than outright ban ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 10:48:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me ask instead: Is peer pressure at high school environment a problem, and if yes, why?
by Nomad on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 11:28:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if peer pressure effectively forces thousands of girls to wear a veil they don't care for, is that a problem ?

Is that better or worse than the state forcing dozens, hundreds or thousands of girls who actually would like to wear the veil into not wearing it ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 11:33:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
1) It's a personal decision. 2) They're teenagers. There is always peer pressure on something - why focus on some veils? Why not smoking instead?

Honest question: Is smoking on French high schools outside the buildings entirely prohibited? I'd like to know the answer to that one...

If the state would ban veils because they'd represent a religious symbol or because they'd negatively affect effective communication or, those are grounds I can agree with.

by Nomad on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 12:22:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know, it wasn't prohibited in my times, but I'd guess it is now - and sale to under-16 is prohibited now.

The fear of peer pressure forcing veil wearing is, indeed, among other, that of the formation of religious and ethnic communities.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 12:38:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think that's what I argued...

Fear of something is a pretty bad rationale for a ban. IMHO.

by Nomad on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 01:00:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way. What would you say if pupils would march into classroom with party emblems on them?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 01:19:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Firstly, I'm not sure if you intentionally make it sound bad, with respect to "march into".

I can't think of reasons why political party emblems should not be allowed on dress or bag.

Surely if existing political parties can pass through nationally set guidelines, it'd be hypocritical that adults start imposing rules how teenagers should express themselves. And furthermore: teenagers interested in politics?!? Great!

by Nomad on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 06:39:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't think of reasons why political party emblems should not be allowed on dress or bag.

Well, with the presence of One Party when I was at school, I have different views on this... not to mention far-right emblems.

teenagers interested in politics?!? Great!

Discussing it? Great. Pushing it? No. (Are emblems a part of discussion? I don't think so: more like statements of unshakeable belief.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jun 27th, 2009 at 06:22:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One Party? I don't understand.

You've, like I do, a preference for political parties today, and perhaps you even had a preference when you were at school. But it is certainly not an argument for people to not wear badges that you personally don't like. If far-right parties using certain emblems are allowed in your country, and anyone can choose to wear them, then certainly also teenagers. It's really as simple as that. A clampdown on what teenagers should wear when adults can - bah.

(It's of course a different story when we talk of badges of historically tainted symbols, such as the Nazi-Swastika.)

I've had discussions in the township with teenagers about their motivations and reasoning for wearing a certain badge. You say a badge would 'push' politics - an emblem also provides a beautiful opening for debate. Particularly with teenagers I find it rather odd you write about "unshakeable belief" - the emotional journey just begins.

by Nomad on Sun Jun 28th, 2009 at 07:05:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What would you think about teachers wearing a political badge ?

What would you think about a dozen kids in a class wearing a badge, and mocking and rarely beating up the kids not wearing one of the appropriate party ?

I haven't yet gotten a job where I'd be comfortable wearing a political party badge, BTW...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Jun 28th, 2009 at 07:13:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What would you think about teachers wearing a political badge?

I personally don't have a problem with this. However, I can imagine that a school board would have.

What would you think about a dozen kids in a class wearing a badge, and mocking and rarely beating up the kids not wearing one of the appropriate party ?

That's an excessive scenario, and I find it too speculative to answer. Perhaps the one thing I can say is it would not be a particularly good school if people'd let it reach to such a point.

by Nomad on Sun Jun 28th, 2009 at 06:40:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Replace badge with veil, and that's exactly the scenario justifying banning the veil from schools.

And I don't really see how a school, good or not, can prevent it reaching such a point by its own means if it's not supposed to infringe on the teenagers' freedoms ? Note the beating up part doesn't necessarily happens within the school.

 

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Jun 28th, 2009 at 07:10:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Again, fear of something I can't see as a justification. And, again, I find this scenario too speculative. We've verged into what ifs.
by Nomad on Mon Jun 29th, 2009 at 06:18:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ticking bomb scenario?

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 29th, 2009 at 06:28:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Similar in that suggested policies attempt to find justification through hypothetical scenarios.
by Nomad on Mon Jun 29th, 2009 at 08:49:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some boys having a "Good girls wear the veil, only whores don't" in French high schools is not an hypothetical.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Jun 29th, 2009 at 09:10:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, there was a real existing scenario I alluded to a few comments back. (You didn't get my "One Party" reference at first, but I made it explicit in a follow-up comment you haven't responded to so far.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 29th, 2009 at 02:36:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a real existing scenario

Heh, I am again alluding to something you may not be aware of (or are aware but won't readily associate at). So just in case:

After the Party in the Soviet Union concluded that it can't create communism ( = a form of society in which everything is owned collectively) in one go, ideology and propaganda switched to claim that the Party is building socialism ( = a form of society in which every means of production is owned by the state, which ensures total redistribution) on the way to communism. "So, lookee here, we already achieved something!" Hence, the famous and much-ridiculed rhetorical phrase "real existing socialism" was born.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jun 29th, 2009 at 02:44:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And what's so excessive about it ? replace badges with branded clothes, and it happens daily in France and many other high schools across the world.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Jun 28th, 2009 at 07:12:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One Party? I don't understand.

The Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Jun 28th, 2009 at 02:04:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Particularly with teenagers I find it rather odd you write about "unshakeable belief" - the emotional journey just begins.

Fanaticism is not at all the reserve of adults. Teens are atually easier to fanatise. (Also see: Hitler Youth, Cultural Revolution.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Jun 28th, 2009 at 02:06:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Discussing it? Great. Pushing it? No. (Are emblems a part of discussion?

Apparently the French state considers the display of religious symbols as proselytism. Which is analogous to considering the wearing of party emblems as discussing politics

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 28th, 2009 at 12:45:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it? Is the analogy not with thinking that wearing party emblems is a form of political proselytism?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 28th, 2009 at 02:01:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right, of course.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 28th, 2009 at 02:09:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a struggle I find the hardest - a choice over individuality versus conformity according to the state.

In this case it's not individuality vs. conformity to the state. As FarEasterner has said, Sikhs expose themselves to expulsion from their community if they do not wear a turban. So we're talking about the incompatibility between conforming to the French state and to the Sikh community.


A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 28th, 2009 at 12:35:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]

(from The false Dmitry)

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 03:29:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I like the approach of this diary, though I would formulate it differently.

To enforce subjugating and separating clothing rules takes pressure in different forms. Some are considered legal (taking away a childs toys, ridicule, social isolation) and some are illegal (for example violence). Pieces of cloth is not the problem here, the pressure is.

Providing ways of escaping this pressure - free education, job opportunities and affordable housing but also shelters and a judicial system that deals swiftly with violent crimes - is something society can and should do. If society provides enough opportunities to change the situation, clothing becomes a real choice (or at least you can choose between different settings with different clothing rules) and particular pieces of cloth will lessen (at least to the wearers) its symbolic value of oppression.

So in addition to the different priorities for social workers and cops mentioned in the diary, I would add a return to full employment policies, free higher education and to provide affordable housing as keys here.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 04:10:46 AM EST
No disagreement here.
by Bernard on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 05:03:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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