Recently my wife Janet posted a comment on FaceBbook about the wearing of the Isalmic women’s garment, the Burka. She was subsequently interviewed about it on the ABC which asked if her comments reflected mine.
That in a supposedly modern, egalitarian society this question should have been thought necessary leaves me somewhat dismayed.
I thought we accepted women as equals. It was also quite ironic that the question was asked during an interview about wearing the Burka, a garment that in my view signifies wifely subservience and ownership.
My wife’s views, as they should be, are completely her own. Sometimes I agree with them, sometimes I do not. However, I absolutely support with a passion her equal right to hold her opinions, even if sometimes one happens to be the opposite of my own. There’s no drama, those moments simply lead to hours of discussion while I convince her that she is wrong. (Yes, that was a joke.)
On this occasion I do not support Janet’s initial comment because it was directed at the persons who were wearing the offending clothing, rather than confining her comments to the offending garments.
Janet has apologised for her initial poorly thought out comment, having made it far too hastily, in a shocked and indignant reaction to her encounter. Bit of a warning to you Facebookers: You are in the public space, think before you write.
Now that the matter has been raised I must say that I share her concern at the wearing of the Burka. I see it as a confronting garment suggesting ownership and servitude, neither of which are compatible with a modern egalitarian society like Australia’s.
I also dislike it from the security point of view; we don’t allow the wearing of cycle helmets or balaclavas in some places specifically for those reasons.
The present practice of making allowances for individuals in some pathetic cringing paternalistic gesture simply because they may be of different race or culture should be completely unacceptable in an egalitarian society.
In an egalitarian society everybody lives under the same set of rules, with no exceptions! Often those fawningly espousing “tolerance” use it as an excuse to make exceptions; in reality making exceptions is discriminatory and very often racist. It is in fact, the very definition of the terms.
Yes, we should welcome people of all races and customs in this country but we absolutely must say no to practices and customs that put us at risk, set us back or are not compatible with our established national goals, beliefs and customs. In simple terms we don’t take on the ideals of a person who thinks dictatorship is the way to go.
Suggestions were also made that Janet’s comments were somehow anti Islamic! Nothing could be further from the truth. The vast majority of Islamists wouldn’t even consider wearing such a garment. Our concerns are directed at an item of clothing, a custom, not at people.
There are many customs that are, and should be, deemed unacceptable by a modern forward thinking country like Australia as a modern nation: female circumcision, stoning, amputations and other appalling practices.
In my view the Burka belongs in this mix, especially given that women are being persecuted, raped, tortured and killed simply for refusing to cover up in just this way in places such as Iran right at this very moment.
Janet and I welcome people from all over the world, no matter what their race. We love seeing people from far flung places grow and prosper under the freedoms this wonderful country offers.
There is however one binding thing that gives strength to a nation like ours: It is an unquestionable obligation upon on all of us who wish to call Australia home: One rule for everyone. No exceptions.