How Muslim Women Are Reclaiming the Veil in France
When France imposed a set of laws that restricted Islamic women from wearing veils in schools and public places, the decision divided the nation. On one side was the media, outspoken feminists, and the secular French government, who all argued that the veil was a repressive symbol, a sign that Islamic women had no power over their identities.
On the other side were French Muslims, who argued that the set of laws that impacted where and when the islamic veil could be worn had nothing to do with oppression, but everything to do with discrimination. The veil then has come to symbolize the simmering undercurrent of Islamophobia in the country, one that has only intensified following the Charlie Hebdo and Paris terrorist attacks.
There is no amount of words to describe what we have witnessed last night in Turkey. I can’t even bear to see what this nation, its’ citizens and politicians have become. I can’t believe what the world has come to.
I’ve always been a person who enjoyed little company, while ignoring social/state issues. I have never felt like a person that belongs to a country, a race or a religion. I have always considered myself as a human being of Earth and nothing more.
For 11 hours straight, I sat in front of a small television, with a phone in my hand that had very little access to the internet at the time. I watched everything; deceptive media, flying jets, the sound of bombs and guns, the sound of people screaming who were religiously blinded, bodies of civilians, bodies of policemen, bodies of soldiers, the panic my relatives had, the smiles on the politicians’ faces, the lies they told, a fake military declaration, and again the very scary and aggressive civilian crowd who marched to their deaths with no cause against a military faction. Soldiers who were very young, claiming they haven’t got a clue of what was going on; killing civilians, civilians who brutally murdered soldiers, policemen who tried to end the conflict “slowly” and “systematically”. I watched a man who made a speech during these events, like a religious celebration, saluting his crowd with a glory on his face. Everything that happened in one night. I watched everything and I watched every hope I had slipped from my fingers.
I’ve always been a lover of art, a lover of science, a lover of literature and a lover of nature. I always adored history, what people have accomplished, and wondered the possibilites of their future accomplishments. I have always respected the true nature and necessity for all religions and ideologies. I questioned everything I did not fully know and listened to others in order to learn and appreciate.
But what I have seen last night, I did not understand. I did not understand -whether it was a coup or not- why and how it happened. Because I have a really hard time understanding people who benefit from war, suffering and hate. I don’t understand why the option of unity, where understanding, respect and tolerance replace hate, blood and money, is impossible and unpreferable for some people. I don’t understand the people from different races, nations, religions and genders; educated or uneducated, do not question the possibility of that they’re being used as a sword and a shield, in the path of an abused and corrupted goal.
I know that many people from different parts of the world feel this way. I know that there are people who feel let down, devastated and humiliated by nights like these. I know that after a while, we will all soon forget about these events and continue with our small but precious lives. I know, deep down, that someday, light will prevail that enlightens generations to come.
But right now; everything burns, and there is no sparkle for me to see.