The following article is from the print edition of The Age. It seems to be unavailable online, so our Australian correspondent Nilk kindly sent along a digital version of it.
Since Anson Cameron writes for The Age, one must presume he is leftish. Nilk says:
You can just feel the cognitive dissonance dripping off the page. Many pointy heads will be spinning, and how long will it be before the cries of ‘waaaaaycist!’ begin?
Behind the veil
by Anson Cameron
From “The Age”
How the burqa is wiping the smiles off our faces.
I was sitting in a bayside park in Melbourne on a sunny spring day recently, silently manufacturing vitamin D and dialogue, when a woman in a black burqa walked past me pushing a pram. Astride her nose, a pair of sunglasses fronted a grilled eye-slit. I could see not one atom of her. A wholly invisible person.
I must have been staring rudely, maybe my mouth was hanging open, because she said “Hello” to me in a bright voice that told me she was a young Australian woman. I would have preferred she was some backwoods Egyptian who had never seen a schoolroom, nor opened a book. It would have made her garb more palatable.
I snapped out of my astonishment and said “Hello” and smiled as she pushed her child onwards. But I watched her go with a creeping feeling that I’d just suffered an injustice. There were only two of us in the park. At the moment we met, I was the only male in her world.
So, as I understand it, her face was covered to prevent an eruption of lustful thought in me. It was disquieting to realise she was hiding her face on the assumption that I couldn’t be trusted.
I wondered if she wore the burqa by choice, or was coerced. She would say by choice, I’m sure. Who wouldn’t? So I’ll go ahead and assume it was she who thought the covering necessary protection against my prying eyes.
I hope it gives her comfort to think of herself as an extraordinary jewel that warrants a portable sanctuary. To believe her allure is as potent as Helen of Troy’s, and that her face might launch a thousand lusts and must therefore be covered. That in the park her beauty is too great, and my lust too fervent, for a simple act of trust, a face-to-face greeting.
But in covering her face, she made me an accomplice in an act that hadn’t happened. Accompanying her presumption that her face would unleash evil thoughts in me is the insulting presumption I am some sort of incorrigible fiend.
The face is an orchestra and the mouth its virtuoso soloist. A smile speaks a language older than any other and makes you marvel at the world playing out in the mind behind. One answers a smile with a smile. A smile is a gift I granted the woman in the park. A gift she could not grant me. How sad for her. For both of us. Or, perhaps, behind the veil, she did smile. If so, that smile was a poet shut away in a tower.
And the eyes, it is said, are windows on the mind. I was taught as a child to look people in the eye when talking to them, because the locking of a gaze was not only a path along which honesty flowed, it was an affirmation of equality.
Both these possibilities were negated. I might have found her interesting, beautiful, dignified. I might have been momentarily uplifted by her smile. Instead, I found her faceless. She would say her facelessness was self-effacing. I would call it a sly pride. You hide your face because of its power.
And if, park lady, juggling motherhood, belief and career, you become a famous scientist and an artist wants to paint you for posterity, would you have that artist paint you with or without your burqa? Is posterity also a lustful brute? Alas, woman is born free, and is everywhere in burqas.
I’m saddened a woman has chosen to walk through a park with her head in a sack because of my perceived wickedness. A little angry, too. For it seems she has judged me without meeting me. Perhaps upon meeting me she would have put her head in a sack anyway. But I would have liked the benefit of the doubt. I was always told it was right to give people that.
Islam asks not to be judged by the acts of vile extremists. So it seems a little hypocritical to meet a woman in a park in Melbourne who has her head bagged just on spec that, as a man, I am a foul-minded hound.
It feels like I have been judged and found guilty because of my sex. And because I consider it my right to look into (into, not onto) the face of a fellow citizen as they look into mine, it feels like discrimination, too.
Yes, he is definitely a racist lecher!
A great account. One that should be read to all proponents of the Burqa…
The Burqa-covered woman wants (assuming she’s not coerced) the best of both worlds: to go through the park, but also not to interact with anyone, because EVERY man is a potential rapist. Something that should be offensive – if not to the Muslims – then to the vast majority of non-rapist Western men.
Perhaps a counter-campaign could be started: women wearing Burqas could be asked questions: “why are you wearing that thing?”, “do you think I’m a rapist?”, “I find that offensive” etc etc.
A pretty good article. I see the issue as a product of Islam’s institutionalised resentment. So the message I get from a fully covered
Muslima is ‘I am giving you nothing’.
So the guy shouldn’t have smiled at her as reciprocation was impossible.
She is the property of her husband, who would rather slit her throat than have anyone see what is his alone.
Islam also degrades its men, though only a fraction compared to its woman, and the men are too deluded to realise anyway. Because, as one Sydney Mullah said, “if uncovered meat is left outside, is it the fault of the cats that they eat it?”
Uncovered women are meat, and men are animals with no impulse control.
Such a lovely religion.
Nilk the sleuth! And a good one too!
Once again you have pointed out those little gems of leftist admissions that seem to go un-noticed by those who wish them to go unnoticed.
I also note that the new editor of the notoriously leftwing newspaper, The Age, has submitted a synopsis of our current prime minister that is worthy of a real old time news hound, and is very informative in its detail.
Hope for us all yet, I hope!
Of course in Islamic culture’s the woman’s assumption that any encounter with a male will necessarily invoke sexual feelings is perfectly warranted.
Muslims and Muslimas never appear worried about the inconsistenct between their claim that Islam trumps all other religions with its inherent assumption that it offers nothing to guide its male adherents towards becoming men. This way they can live easy with their lust while the females can live with their false pride that they are ravishing beauties when the reality is that most are not worth a second look and the rest are best not looked at at all.
I wouldn’t presume to know how leftish Anson Cameron is. Although Al Age is in general. Anson is an author of several novels. His age articles are often about AFL (Australian rules football). In this one he questions the wisdom of the new inclusive prayer rooms at the MCG (Football stadium): http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/on-the-wing-and-a-prayer-20120421-1xe7b.html
It is slave wear intended to show ownership. She has agreed to this contract and the only way she can be allowed out of “the compound” is if she covers herself in a way that clearly defines her as some man’s slave/property. That she has done it willingly says so much about her intelligence and beliefs. The larger question is her societal responsibility. If she drives her drivers license should have a full face picture and if she is stopped while driving then she must show the officer a full facial view. She could not be allowed to enter banks of course but even privately owned shops should be allowed to ban her/him because it is the perfect disguise for a criminal. As long as her actions don’t negatively affect others or our society then she is free to follow her bizarre choices.
Thanks, Nemesis, although the sleuthing was done by the person who sent the heads up about it to one of the email lists I’m on. I just went across the road to buy the paper.
And Larry, you are right – I don’t know how left Anson Cameron is. However, given that his writing has graced the Aged, and the Drum, and word from other places from people who have read him is that he’s leftarded, it’s an easy assumption to make.
It’s possible that he’s off to the right of Attila the Hun, but unlikely.
And it begins.
Pushing stereotype of women in burqas
ANSON Cameron (”How the burqa is wiping the smiles off our faces”, Life & Style, 13/10) felt discriminated against because he saw a woman wearing a burqa in a park. Australia is a democracy, and that means women are free to wear what they like. Cameron’s article says more about him than the young woman who did nothing more than return his rude stare with a bright hello. Cameron makes assumptions about why she wears the burqa, questions her intelligence and freedom, and accuses her of slyness and pride.
He reaches fever pitch when he addresses her as ”park lady” and says she had ”her head in a sack”. What a shame he chose to return her friendliness by publicly stereotyping and vilifying her (and others who choose to wear the burqa), instead of uttering a single word to her in the park. It makes his claim that ”she has judged me without meeting me” laughable.
Susie Latham, Preston
For those who don’t know Melbourne, Preston is very multicultural and not particularly nice. I have to go there occasionally and it sucks big time.
Speaking of Preston
Man in his 20s, caucasion, beats up on woman in her 60s at the local shops.Colour me surprised. Not
Preston is, after all the home territory of Sheikh Fehmi and a hotbed of cultural enrichment as noted above by anon at 9.27.
Even if I do something on my own free will, the fact that if I by any reason I chose to do otherwise, someone in my proximity would jump on me to beat the living hell out of me, renders void any pretention of liberty. So when a burqa-clad woman responds to our inquire with a ‘yes, I wear ir willingly’, it merits a counter reply of yhis tenor: Do you know what would happened to you if dared not wearing it?
the whole thing is built around the muslim male sexual inferiority complex
rather than show off your woman…and in so doing show all the other males that she is your’s…the muslim male bags her…slices off her clitoris….
all to prevent her from finding out that she’s stuck with a sexual incompetent….probably with defective equipment… to boot
the burqa speaks volumes about the culture which produced it. As others have noted, this culture views women as property and men as uncontrolled beasts. Such a primitive tribalist world view is incompatible with the Western ideals of self ownership and individual liberty.
#14 & 15
well, having spent some time in my best years in an islamic country, I confirm your opinion. I noticed that the women and girls there were very much inclined to see me unnnoticed by neighbors or relatives – I will spare the details of how to preserve virginity and have fun at the same time – and even a friend told me that there is hardly a married woman who does not leave the paths of virtue every once in a while.And most of all: it`s worth it, their women not beeing of restrained temperament.
Wow. Just wow. Really?
1: You can’t be sexist toward men. Men can’t be systematically oppressed like a woman is.
2: It’s her religion! It’s nothing personal. She didn’t wake up this morning and say, ‘Hey, that blogger guy, he doesn’t deserve my gaze so I’m going to cover myself up because he’s lustful.’ You are very ignorant.
Not everything is super personal to you because to her, you’re just another face.