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Re-Gilding The Cage

I just read a great article "Perceptions of Arab women have been revolutionised". Written by a woman, it's full, quite rightly, of passion an pride in the changes taking place across North Africa and The Middle East but specifically hailing, also quite rightly, the prominent role of women in the movements towards democratic reform that we have all witnessed with both astonishment and, certainly in my case, some pride at the constant bravery of humanity.

Here are some clips to give you a flavour but whiz across and have a read - it's really 'hopeful and joyous'. (link below the quotes)
a group of Arab women wearing the hijab

Not only did women participate in the protest movements raging in those countries, they have assumed leadership roles there... ...Arab women have been proving themselves through continuous action on the ground, rather than in endless polemics behind closed doors.

...The open parliaments of Kasbah and Tahrir Square – where people met, communicated and expressed their political views freely – brought everyone closer together, promoting collective identity over divisions of class, ideology, gender, religion and sect.

Another stereotype being dismantled is the association of the Islamic headscarf with passivity, submissiveness and segregation. Surprising as this may be, many Arab women activists choose to wear the hijab. Yet they are no less confident, vocal or charismatic than their unveiled sisters.

...They refuse to be treated with contempt, kept in isolation, or be taken by the hand, like a child, and led on the road to emancipation. They are taking charge of their own destinies, determined to liberate themselves as they liberate their societies from dictatorship. The emancipation they are shaping with their own hands is an authentic one defined by their own needs, choices and priorities.

Guardian article here


If Arab women are truly choosing freely to wear a headscarf then fair enough, I've never had a problem with an article of clothing, my only concern is with the symbols of female oppression that are, or were, and if 'were', then with the honesty of reason for it's continued use.

Whether or not a woman is truly, freely choosing, the headscarf will still be seen, even if only by the orthodox. establishment, old guard etc, as a symbol of subservience to male dominance. And, you know, without wishing offend, it is exactly that. The modesty dictate comes from an authoritarian male god, and is traditionally 'enforced' by male overlords, village elders, fathers, husbands and brothers, but originally dictated in the works which takes them by the hand, like a child and delivers their needs, choices and priorities pre-packaged by a male purveyor of that wrathful male deity (Perhaps he should be termed Maleity).

Do people not see the striking similarities between the authoritarian dictators they are seeking to depose, have unseated, or with whom they are currently embattled, and the authoritarian God/Allah of the the Torah Bible and Quran?
How can one fight for a physical ideal of democracy whilst consecutively holding in highest esteem, as a spiritual ideal, an authoritarian dictator god? It seems patently obvious to me that these two ideals are at opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Seems to me, people across a number of nations have stood up collectively against authoritarian regimes and said...
"We want out of your stupid rules and regulations, your repression of thoughts and ideas. We are sick of you censoring what we can experience, we are human adults and expect to able to make up our own minds about things. We want to be free to live within a democracy; a set of rules of our own making. Rules that are fair and just to one and all. Get out of our country, you horrid dictator you. We've had enough of your nonsense!"

As I see it, it's a very small mental leap, actually not even a leap, it's more of a shuffle, to apply that speech to any god who expects you to follow silly rules of worship and prostrations, restricts free thinking and knowledge, and imposes restrictions of dress.

Is chasing the despot out of your country, symbolic of your desire to remove the despot from you thoughts or heart?
If you chase a despot from your country but continue to love the idea of despotism are you really making any lasting change?

When you chase the despot from your country but not your heart,
are you not merely re-gilding your cage?

This is one of the Too Many Questions
PEACE
Crispy
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If you enjoy what you read here
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21 days in May


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