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October 06th 2014 print

Peter Smith

Self-Made Victimhood’s Sacred Shroud

The head-to-foot veiling of women alarms and distresses those who regard the human female as more than a set of reproductive organs capable of performing domestic duties. Wear the burka if you must, but don't whine about the reaction it inspires

burqa3I had intended to leave the subject of Islam. What is there to say to those people who understand the dire threat it represents to our way of life, and what can be said to the dolts that don’t? The recent ridiculous controversy over the burka drew me back to the subject.

Tony Abbott made perfectly measured comments on the confronting nature of a woman dressed in a beehive suit (as Bill Maher described it) and the creeping Jesuses came out in force. Tanya Plibersek apparently finds Abbott in Speedos, performing a public service by patrolling our beaches, confronting. I find Plibersek confronting no matter how she is dressed or whatever she is doing. Superciliousness personified. I find Christine Milne and Andrew Wilkie and Chris Bowen, among other pissants, confronting. Do Australian values mean nothing to them? Is their national self-esteem so low that any alien cultural abomination passes muster? Or is it just a tawdry case of their being votes in it?

Let me say it in simple terms. Women in Australia don’t dress like that. Subjugated women may dress like that in Saudi Arabia, in Yemen, in Iran and in other benighted Islamic backwaters, but not in Australia. Women in Australia live the truth that they stand equal with men before God – “there is neither male nor female for ye are all one in Christ Jesus”. (Galatians 3:28)

Of course in our free society, unlike the societies from which most members of our Muslim community or their parents came, women and men are — and should be — legally allowed to dress as they like. Provided, that is, they don’t walk down Main Street flashing their bottoms or genitalia. That doesn’t mean we can’t have opinions on the way people dress. And it doesn’t mean in this age of worldwide Islamic terrorism and barbarism that we can’t implement sensible security measures.

Beehive suits are permissible on public streets and in parks. Entry into private establishments is entirely up to the proprietors. I was not allowed into a Newtown pub wearing a cap. Entry into potential terrorist targets — airports, courts,  state and federal parliament buildings, and the like — should be disallowed, full stop, no exceptions.

Even if the identity of a person is checked on entry, if there is more than one of them, how can they individually be tracked? Two or more beehive suits go into the washroom together; which one comes out first? And, by the way, presumably extra administrative cost has to be incurred by ensuring women staff are on hand to usher the Muslim ladies to a separate room where their facial feature can be examined away from the prying eyes of strange men.

Give us all a break. Have we completely lost our collective common sense? Is it a joke? No, unfortunately it is not.

Every woman wearing a beehive suit deserves the same respect and kindness as an individual as everyone else. But they must bear the responsibility of their choice, even if it has been effectively forced on them by a medieval patriarchal culture. They can’t expect the same level of entitlement.

John Stuart Mill (On Liberty) put it well, as he often did: “When a person’s conduct affects the interest of no persons besides himself … there should be perfect freedom, legal and social, to do the action”. But he added instructively “… and stand the consequences”.

There are consequences to dressing from head to toe in a beehive suit. One of them is being regarded as a potential security risk. There is an option: When in Australia dress as an Australian.

 

Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics

Comments [5]

  1. en passant says:

    When I worked in the M.E. they were referred to as BMO’s (Black Moving Objects) or Daleks (from Dr. Who.)

    • Johannes says:

      Hi Peter,
      I am a new subscriber to the Quadrant. The reason for becoming a subscriber is that I want to acquaint myself with the conservative streams of thought in Australia. I quickly discovered that Quadrant was the publication that represents a strong and long-standing, well respected reputation of articulating a conservative point of view. However, your diatribe regarding the burka and use of words such as ‘Superciliousness’, ‘pissants’ and ‘tawdry’ to describe people with a different point of view, I find not worthy of the quality of the Quadrant. Especially when in the next sentence you talk about Australian values? How do Australian women dress? In this age of worldwide Islamic terrorism and barbarism? What examples can you give me that relates to a few women in Australia wearing a burka? When in Australia dress as an Australian? I’m not a muslim nor an Australian so could you please describe to me how I should dress to be accepted?
      Best regards,
      Johannes

      • IainC of The Ponds says:

        Welcome. Since this is not a left wing discussion site, you will find many different points of view here. Relax and enjoy. Your observations about using disparaging words to describe the other side I sort of agree with, why stoop to the level of left wing diatribe? Argue against the deed not the doer. However, I make an exception for the Greens, anything goes there. Your question is a good one. What define Australian dress? My response is, wear whatever you like, that is the Australian dress code in a nutshell. But, as Mr Smith has pointed out, be prepared to accept the consequences. If you want to wear flares and an afro, good luck to you, just expect to be ridiculed (in a nice way, I’m sure). The burka is a bit different. It’s a symbol of the oppression of Muslim women. But vilifying the burka is attacking the victim. We should be vilifying the Bigots in Beards, not their oppressed women. The Left in general, and feminists in particular, have abandoned Muslim women to their fate, and it is up to the Right to save them. The question is, how do we do it, without stooping to Leftist tactics? My thought? Praise the burka (symbols of oppression) and the women forced to wear them, commiserate with the wearers (the victims) for their courage and patience until liberation, vilify the reasons behind having to wear one (Islam combined with outdated cultural forces). If possible, use Leftist phraseology and methods (the victimology textbook) so the Left can only seethe in rage.

        • Peter says:

          Dear IanC

          “Vilifying the burka is attacking the victim”.

          It is a fine line I agree. I am always careful to say that women in burkas should be treated with the same respect and kindness as anyone else. But are we doing Muslim women any favours by simply saying that people can wear what they like. Of course they can in public places, but surely those women suffering intolerable oppression have to know that we are on their side. While, some politicians are falling all over themselves showing how liberal they are, women are walking around in black ‘beehive suits’ on hot summer days. I am not convinced that they want to, and it is interesting, for example, to compare women in Egypt in the 1950′s with what we see now in the streets. Are we to believe the regression was their choice. We are dealing with an intolerant creed and that may mean that our tolerant society has to become intolerant of intolerance to survive.

          Cheers

          Peter

      • Peter says:

        Dear Johannes

        A first point. It is not hard to know how to dress in Australia to be accepted. Jean Shrimpton had some difficulty in Melbourne in the mid sixties but the newspaper headlines put her right. If you have female relatives or friends they would need to pick up the local dress standards pretty quickly if they were to visit Saudi Arabia. I don’t support it being banned, but you would be aware that the face veil is banned in France and in one or two other Europeans countries. And it is banned in the public service in Turkey I believe. Ataturk no doubt banned it outright and it’s worthwhile wondering why he did that.

        It is a symbol of oppression of women. It is a symbol of a creed which Winston Churchill circa 100 years ago and John Quincy Adams circa 200 years ago nailed as backward, pernicious and violent. Some people choose these days to ignore that.

        On my language – well we can all fall into the trap, as you showed with ‘diatribe’, of using intemperate language or tackling the man rather than the ball. However, in my view, those who fail to stand up for Australian values, Enlightenment values, or who place politicking above supporting Australian values are contemptible (pissants). As for supercilious, unfortunately it seems to fit too well to ignore sometimes. As for tawdry, I didn’t direct it at a person but at the case being put and it is in my view tawdry. Thanks for you comments even if you didn’t like my piece.

        Cheers

        Peter