|WHAT a MODEST pose!|
Is the burqini useful, harmless beachwear, or is it a uniform expressing adherence to anti-western ideology?
I can't decide. As much as I fear the sun--being blue-eyed, red-haired and fair-skinned, fear of skin and eye cancer haunts me--I would not wear a burqini, let alone a burqa, because I don't want to be perceived as wearing an Islamist uniform. To completely block out the sun on the beach, I could wear a surfer's or long-distance swimmer's neoprene swimsuit and nobody would give me a second glance.
Should the burquini be banned? My best Catholic friends fight me on any kind of governmental bans on public dress because they fear this will come back to bite Catholics. I don't mind "hijab" aka foreign-looking headscarves because Christian and Jewish women in the west covered their hair day in, day out for centuries. Naturally, I think it is nicer and less ghettoizing when western Muslim women wear western headscarves instead of Saudi desertwear; I know a Muslim female theology student who tucks her hair into a big knitted cap. If you want to cover your hair, cover you hair. I don't mind. If you want to cover your hair with a silk square covered in swastikas, I wonder if covering your hair is actually your intent.
What I object to are uniforms, the uniforms of anti-western ideologies. My father's mother's people were German-Americans, and my grandmother was a proud German-American, but neither she nor her family wore traditional German dress during the First and Second World Wars. I mean, it's not just that they didn't wear Nazi uniforms--which I am sure would have got them arrested for disturbing the peace, if for nothing else--it's that they didn't wear HIYA! I'M A PROUD GERMAN-AMERICAN NOT ALL GERMANS ARE NAZIS YOU KNOW clothing either. And France, as politicians solemnly tell us, is at war.
Well, sound off in the combox if you are moved to, but remember that as usual on my blogs, the tone of the combox is sternly restricted to good humour, wrinkly-foreheaded thought and mildly hurt feelings soon soothed by apologies and explanations.
UPDATE: This Spectator article explains the current social and cultural climate in France. I think one thing to be kept in mind is that the current fuss about the burkini is about the burkini in France. When we read about massacres in France, we feel sad and upset for a week or so. When the French read about (or see or survive) massacres in France, they stay mad. Understandably. Especially in Nice.