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The Burqa Has No Place In A Western Democracy

Two women wearing burqas in Hyde Park, London
Two women wearing burqas in Hyde Park, London
Joao Pereira Coutinho

-OpEd-

As I walk through central London, I see many women wearing burqas passing me by. And as I've always felt in that sort of situation, I was uncomfortable. Physically and morally uncomfortable.

They say you're not supposed to feel such things. Nor to write about them. What right, indeed, do I have to impose a dress code on someone else?

None, I admit. But when I see a woman transformed into a mummy, it's not myself I think about. I think about her. Is that a personal choice, I ask myself, or it is — like in the overwhelming majority of cases — a form of submission to male power?

These women walk in the street entirely covered. And the husbands walk not with them but in front of them, in a public and very visible demonstration of the place women occupy in the hierarchy of sexes.

Have a smoke

This is why I support the ban on the burqa, or full veil, in European public spaces. Such legislation already exists in France and is currently being debated in Germany. For starters, not hiding your face is simply a form of respect towards others. Living in Western society also means sharing some of its values and behaviors.

Just like I don't roam the streets naked (despite my pantheist side), I appreciate it when others don't hide their entire bodies from head to feet.

The burqa ban is also a form of respect towards these women. I'm staunchly opposed to the state sticking its nose in other people's business except in extreme cases. If a woman wishes to have her head and body entirely covered at home, that's her problem. But it's a different thing when we're talking about the world outside of those four walls.

Can the rule of law really permit the public exhibition of a woman kept in a prison of cloth? Or should it declare, loud and clear, that there shall be no tolerance whatsoever for these demonstrations of male brutality?

Of course, some will claim just the opposite — that the brutality would a burqa ban's lack of respect for "different cultures." It's an interesting argument. I didn't think that violence against women was a "culture" worth respecting among civilized people.

And, while we're at it, multiculturalists should remember that Western culture is also a "different culture." On what grounds does the "tolerance" always apply to other people but never to us?

In any case, I can only recommend that people read the Daily Telegraph"s story on the liberation of the Syrian city of Manjib from ISIS. For two years, these people lived under the clutches of the so-called "Islamic State." The liberation came with U.S.-backed troops. And when the women saw the soldiers entering the town, what did they do? They ripped off their black burqas and smoked cigarettes in celebration.

I can understand that these two actions — ripping off burqas and smoking cigarettes — might offend multiculturalists and health nuts in equal measure. But when I see a woman in a burqa on the streets of London, that's also my wish: to invite her to come out of her dungeon and share a cigarette with her to celebrate her freedom.

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Geopolitics

Limits Of Convenience: Why Russia-China Cooperation Won't Last

Moscow and Beijing may seem like strategic partners, but it's revealing itself clearly as a marriage of convenience. And ultimately they are naturally competitors, wary if the other grows stronger.

Limits Of Convenience: Why Russia-China Cooperation Won't Last

February 2022. Vladimir Putin attending the remony of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin Pool / Planet Pix via ZUMA Press Wire
Petro Shevchenko

-Analysis-

Long before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping were growing closer. China’s goal? To revamp the current world order, significantly weaken the West and its leaders, and to become the world-dominating figurehead over and above the United States.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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Russia’s war in Ukraine has become an essential element of this plan to destabilize the global situation.

When the West began imposing stringent sanctions on Russia, China instead chose to economically support Putin and left its markets open to accept raw materials from Russia. But don’t think this means China is Putin’s lapdog. Quite the contrary: Beijing has never helped Moscow to its own detriment, not wishing to fall under the punitive measures of the US and Europe.

At the same time, the Russian-Chinese alliance stirred dissatisfaction amongst the elite in both Beijing and Moscow. China was not expecting Russia’s plans to occupy Ukraine in a matter of days to fail and as a result, China’s aim to destabilize the West alongside its Russian partner failed.

Add to this the various alliances in the West emerging against Beijing and fears for China’s economy on home turf is beginning to grow.

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