Gandhi. Source: peacenfreedom
A woman was recently held at gun point and told to take off her top by police officers.
I don’t have a lot to say about this. Simply put, this is obviously wrong.
The scary thing is, the questions that lead after it. Human rights are the basic foundation that Europeans can normally feel proud to call their own. And yet, if you are of a certain religion, these days, you are ostracised and shamed, what then? What does that mean? How did we get here, to this point?
The mayors who decided to implement the ban in a couple of French seaside towns argued that this was for the women’s protection. It would mean that they didn’t get any unwanted attention. It would mean that they wouldn’t look like terrorists.
A point well made by comediene and activist, Kate Smurthwaite, is that it is simple: When women are told that they must wear something, or not wear something, this is obviously a problem.
Pic of Smurthwaite. Source: Reason
“This may seem like a shocking and controversial thing to say (on the bbc), but women are rational intelligent adults and what really we need to do is to make sure that they really have the freedom to make those choices for themselves.” Kate Smurthwaite
The same is said by the French Council, that basic freedom and liberty is clearly not given here. And so the ban has been suspended. Phew.
But then, why do I feel so angry about it all? It is easy to get very riled up. But, as a feminist, and a pacifist, reacting with rage to something, in my opinion, is never a good thing. And never leads to peace.
I take a step back, because, as Maya Angelou did when she got mad following the 9/11 attacks, I see that; ah, this is not the way to go. This anger, will only continue that circle of hate.
So, I take a step back from my initial reaction, and try to really see the situation, to really see the people.
Feet. Source: 30minuteyogamom
When I take a step back, I see the men who did this, I see the men who thought about making this ban on burkinis.
And I feel fear.
I believe I feel their fear. And, I could be wrong, but I see men who are scared and overwhelmed, at a loss for what to do. There are probably other elements at hand, but this is what I see. -Where to start when your country has been attacked and innocent people have died?
They are clutching at straws. They must know that this will bring no positive effects about. Surely? That no results will be harvested. No lives saved, or brought back.
I feel the fear of the women now feeling they cannot be themselves or walk down the street without is being an issue of political defiance.
It is sad. It is sad for the politicians who are scared. It is sad for the families of those who have lost loved ones. It is sad for the women being pointed out, their symbolism of sacredness and what is love and goodness in the world to them, torn from their bodies’. And it is sad for the terrorists. Those who find no other way of being heard.
It is sad for all of humanity.
But, as with anything that is a mess, you can ask instead, what now? -What to do now?
On a personal level, how can I show solidarity to my Muslim sisters? How can we connect, rather than segregate everyone in the country, no matter what their views on this matter?
I recently saw a documentary on Mahatma Ghandi. His unrelenting faith inspired me. His dedication to not reacting like brutes when in the face of violence and fear, how he led the Indian people to react peacefully, even when lives were taken. This is the only way I can see anyone ever getting to peace.
And so, I reflect upon my reaction now, to this sad event. And I can see that my first reaction of rage, for the autonomy of women, is not the most useful to me, or to the world. Instead, I see my sadness, and then compassion, as much more constructive.
Friendship. Source: Pinterest
That way, I can say with a clear voice: that I hear you, my Muslim sisters, and I am not your enemy. I hear the depth of sadness of the victims, and I am your friend. And I hear the people with violence in their hearts, and I see the fear behind it. I pray for you.
It is all a very sad state of affairs.
This is a time, where I think, we all, as individuals, are able to consider our intention in this world. -What do we want to stand for? Because when we are clear on that, we know what we want to do. We know the direction we are going in.
For me, this is my intention:
For women, I wish the freedom of speech, equality and to choose what we want to wear. For men, I wish peace, so that they can find the strength to provide effective measures, to protect their people. And to the people, I wish kindness, so that even in these difficult times, they can find their humanity within all of this noise the world is making.
“Peace between countries must rest on the solid foundation of individuals.”
Peace, my friends xx