France, once the cradle of modern democracy and freedom, today took a long, serious step back into the medieval ages. 339-1 was the vote to pass a bill banning a piece of clothing.
No matter how you sugar-coat this ban, it stinks to high heaven. The government has no right to tell a person what they can and cannot wear. Today it is the burqa, tomorrow it will be the Sikh turban, and the day after that the Jewish beard. As a race, we seem to be hurtling towards uniformity and mediocrity. We seem to have little or no tolerance for anything that is not like us. So from America to Australia, India to Israel, we all wear the same Levis, eat the same McBurger, drink the same Coke, drive the same Hyundai.
What the French have effectively done is distracted the debate from whether the burqa is but a outward sign of the ill-treatment of women in Islam. Instead now the world debates whether a piece of cloth that overs the head and face is worse than Halle Berry’s skin show at the 2002 Oscars.
We do not bat an eyelid when slightly clad, braless women come parading into out homes though FTV. We do not mind that pictures of Princess Diana in skimpy bathing suits adorn the front page of our newspapers. We are fine with movies where the lead couple sing a romantic song in snow-clad mountains where the male actor is clad in a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and then a leather jacket over it while the female actress is wearing a skirt that would have trouble reaching my daughter’s knees and a top that one couldn’t use as a diaper. But we take exception to a black dress that covers a woman from head-to-toe.
This is just the beginning. Rumors have it that the Dutch are to follow suit. Why is it that our most free countries are the ones queuing up to take away people’s liberties?
Personally, I dont mind it. Let’s all walk around naked. All the better. At Rs. 1700 for a cotton dress for a two-year old, I prefer nudity.