Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I have a very good friend, from Amsterdam, married to another friend of mine from Peshawar, PK, whose family I happen to know quite well, having spent time with them in Peshawar and in and around Lahore in the late 80's. Her brother was also a very good friend of mine and roommate for three years.

We all went to university together (international school in the US).

Now, as it happens, when Rudi got married to my roommate's sister (and we are talking about middle-class Pakistani society here, which is to say quite wealthy by PK standards) no one from the family was present. They disapproved greatly. Her brother was very angry, still is. Won't talk to me either. I chose sides.

Women in Peshawar do not go outside without armed escort, family members, fathers, uncles, brothers. And obviously, they have no choice about wearing veils or not. They usually don't have choice about who they marry either, or what they do for careers (easy, they don't do careers, they stay at home).

That's what we're talking about. Not scarves around one's hair, but the social environment hijab represents and which is counter to modern values (well, at least those values as progressively fought for, in the West since the 17th century and elsewhere as well).

Shaema does not wear the veil now, she never did unless back home in PK, which I found odd when I saw her there given how I knew her in the US. Last I heard, she hasn't been back to PK in nearly 20 years. And if you think this is an exception, it is not, it is the rule in that part of the world, which isn't, incidentally, anywhere near Saudi Arabia.

They live in Indonesia with their two sons, I haven't seen them for seven years so I don't know if there's been a reconciliation since or not, but 12 years already was pretty long.

Funny thing is,  I can tell you she'd likely be chuckling a bit at this debate. And she laughed quite hard at those American women who took to the veil (we knew a few) "on their own".

Anecdote? Sure. But everything about this subject is anecdote. Seeing 90% men on the streets of Peshawar though - that was not anecdotal, nor was the 50,000 women who protested in Paris about this stuff 3-4 years ago.

And yet we keep buying into the multi-cultural, "it's all good" frame of the post-modern left, the same left which has done nothing to advance poverty issues, or social justice issues, or economic equity issues, anywhere in the anglo-american world. Perhaps this is yet another diversion to distract from that lack of accomplishment?

My own observation, in watching the left, in particular in Anglo-american environments, deal with this issue is that ideologically, the "leftism" of the post-modern sort most popular in the anglo-american world, is no match for islamicism in terms of ideological rigor and vigor.

Fortunately, there are other branches of the same tree, and with a bit of pruning, those branches may come back to life as well.

Love the diary, thought-provoking if I don't agree with the point of view....  


The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Tue Jan 16th, 2007 at 09:09:42 AM EST
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