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http://www.riverbendblog.blogspot.com/ Wednesday, October 01, 2003 Cousins and Veils... This is some further commentary on John Tierney's article "Iraq Family Ties Complicate American Efforts for Change", printed in the New York Times. (BTW, thanks to "jd" for the following tip- for people who don't wish to register with New York Times, the username/password mediajunkie/mediajunkie can be used to access articles.) "A key purpose of veiling is to prevent outsiders from competing with a woman's cousins for marriage," Dr. Kurtz said. "Attack veiling, and you are attacking the core of the Middle Eastern social system." Thank you Stanley Kurtz, anthropologist at the Hoover Institution. He took hundreds of years of wearing the veil for religious reasons and relegated it all to the oppression of females by their male cousins. Wow- human nature is that simple. I can see the image now- my cousins roaming the opening of our cave, holding clubs and keeping a wary eye on the female members of their clan… and us cowed, frightened females all gathered in groups, murmuring behind our veils… I have a question: why is Dr. Kurtz using the word ‘veil’ in relation to Iraq? Very, very few females wore veils or burqas prior to the occupation. Note that I say ‘veil’ or ‘burqa’. If Dr. Kurtz meant the general ‘hijab’ or headscarf worn on the hair by millions of Muslim females instead of an actual ‘veil’ then he should have been more specific. While a ‘veil’ in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan is quite common, in Iraq it speaks of extremism. It is uncommon because the majority of moderate Muslim clerics believe it is unnecessary. A ‘veil’ is a piece of cloth that covers the whole face and head. It is called a ‘veil’ in English and called a ‘burgu3’ (burqa), ‘khimar’, or ‘pushi’ in Iraq. The khimar or burqa either covers the whole face, or covers it all with the exception of the eyes. The standard ‘hijab’ or ‘rabta’ is a simple headscarf that covers the hair and neck, and can be worn in a variety of ways. The majority of ‘covered’ females in Iraq wear a simple hijab. Some fashionable females wear a turban-like head cover and something with a high collar that generally serves the same purpose. The hijab can be any color. Some women prefer white, others black and I have friends who own every color and design imaginable and look so good, it almost seems more like a fashion statement than a religious one. The ‘abaya’, on the other hand, is a long, cloak-like garment and is more traditional, than it is religious. Although designs vary, the abaya is similar in style to the standard graduation robe- long, wide and flowing. Some abayas are designed to cover the head, and others are made only to wear on the shoulders. Men, as well as women, wear abayas. The feminine abayas are often black and may have some sort of design on them. Male abayas are plain, with perhaps some simple embroidery along the edges and are brown, black, gray, beige or khaki. Abayas are often worn in Iraq, although the younger generations don’t like them- I haven’t worn one yet. The hijab can be worn with ordinary clothing- skirts, shirts and pants as long as they are ‘appropriate’. The skirt should be somewhat long, the shirt a little bit loose and the sleeves should be below the elbows and, if worn with pants, a bit long. The purpose of the hijab is to protect females from sexual harassment. It acts as a sort of safeguard against ogling and uninvited attention. Muslim females do not wear a hijab or veil because their male cousins *make* them wear it. They wear it for religious reasons. I personally don’t wear a hijab or headscarf, but I know many females who do- in Baghdad, in Mosul, in Najaf, in Kerbela, in Falloojeh… in Jordan, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Saudi Arabia… and *none* of these females wear a headscarf because their *cousins* make them wear it. They wear the headscarf out of a conviction that it is the correct thing to do and out of the comfort and security it gives them. Cousins have nothing to do with it and Dr. Kurtz’s very simplistic explanation is an insult. Dr. Kurtz would have better said, “Attack the headscarf or the hijab and you are attacking the core of the Middle Eastern social system because the majority of the Middle East is Muslim and the headscarf is considered a required part of Islam by a huge number of Muslims.” Attacking the hijab would be the equivalent of attacking a Christian’s right to wear a cross, or a Jew’s right to wear a yarmulke… - posted by river @ 11:04 PM Current Reading... I’m reading a great book by Danny Schechter called “Embedded: Weapons of Mass Deception” which can be found on MediaChannel.org. The book is fantastic… it discusses the media deception that went on before the war and is still occurring today. Some chapters leave me awed with thoughts like, “Were they actually doing that?! How could they have done that?!” Other chapters leave me angry, “Didn’t the world know *that*?!”… the whole book leaves me relieved: the world is finally waking up. Another site I’m checking out lately is a site by "Malcom Lagauche", a journalist/author who writes about Iraq, amongst other things. His site is called Lagauche is Right. One post that got my attention was his September 25 post about that atrocious toy that was being sold in America- the “Forward Command Post” which shows an Iraqi home, complete with bloodstains, crumbling walls, no family members (they were probably detained) and a triumphant American soldier… I can imagine a child receiving the huge package for Christmas or a Birthday and opening it up with glee… seeing the chaos, the havoc, the destruction and feeling… what? Pride? Victory? Elation? And they say it's Al-Jazeera that promotes violence. Sure. __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? The New Yahoo! Shopping - with improved product search http://shopping.yahoo.com _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk