Human Rights

To the girls in the video on niqab…

They say : This liberates you?

I want to known for my intellect and not for how short my skirt is

…communication barrier…


I don’t want to be just another rape statistic

…status of women is decreasing…

…Western women as sex object…

…honors me, protects me, it tells me my body belongs to me and nobody else…

No one can tell me what to wear, how to dress

…being free from the submission to man’s desires…

True femininity is preserving our beauty and not having it exploited

Aussie Muslim Refused Service Over Niqab

You explain yourselves, your motivations. The ‘why’ and ‘because’ of covering the female body to the extent that you do. I watch you, veiled as you are from me and everyone else, and even though I don’t see you, I am intrigued by your forceful voice; I am struck by your staid eyes. You are so very young. Even underneath that shroud, you move like something new, something strong. The world may bend you every which way, but you won’t snap. You whip back to how you have always stood.

But you are impatient. I get it. Young people find themselves in a threatening world. You are inheriting something quite broken and neglected from your elders. Its like the house upped and went to hell before the dinner party while your Mum fussed over crochet doilies. You may have been born into a nice home but a great many didn’t win that jackpot. Here I assume that your thoughts encompass humanity in grand scales. You look around and see that your people may have only managed to save this one house, or this one neighborhood; this one city or this one nation. Everywhere else burns.

You have it all figured out. Establishing ownership of one’s body is no small feat. Half the time my body seems to run away from me. It bloats and billows in the oddest ways and only I can see this. When you ask me if high heels and lipsticks liberate me, I am struck by how little you know about yourself and about being women. I imagine two things: a model prisoner, that is, a prisoner modelling the prison that keeps her, and another incessantly creating the means to escape it. What state is more desirable depends on the mettle of the seeker. But I would go with the latter, the woman fashioning the wings for escape. It appears to be a doomed cause. She’s scraped and bruised, but with a smattering of hope. When air turns toxic, we cannot simply make gas masks a way of life. And when being a woman becomes so very limiting and oppressive, disappearing into a personal bubble where everything unpleasant exists ‘out there’ is cheating. You think you’re taking a short-cut or something by not dealing with the stupidity and horrors cultivated especially for women.

You want to be known for your intellect and not by how short your skirt is. A sound intellect is a fine thing. But you do realize that like your body, your mind is just one part of you. Some of us aren’t born with what it takes to be clever or well-informed. Some of us are hopelessly stupid. Take away the mind and body, and what do we have? How else does the essence of your being shine through? Is it in the curve of your back as you bend over your work, so unmindful of the perfect moment, when you sat perfectly framed in the golden light of the sun as it slid over the softness of skin, the stillness of infinite hair held together, in place like something that was always meant to be. Is it when unaware of an answer, you gaze up momentarily, surrendering to not knowing. Answers and information saturating the air around you but you, the calm center. Does the essence hide in the way you walk, or how you carry a load, in the way you turn to look at someone or how you suppress casual cruelty thats ready to dart out of you. In the quest to hide the lines and curves of your physical body, are you not shrouding your being here… in this world.

Your body will rebel. It will disengage. Do you see? There is a you that lives at one with your body who will never be because it remained unseen, unwitnessed. You say you don’t care a fig for the tree in the woods that only existed because it was perceived? I don’t buy that. Not for a second. You like very much to be the conundrum that you are. There but not there. Blurry but defined. Benign but severe. Exteriorizing the damned implications of your belief system. It makes me want to yell, as I look at only-your-eyes you, in your gray hoodie with its white drawstrings hanging like they do for everyone else.

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Sam I Am