Tragically, we’ve been all-too-easily indoctrinated to engage in such stereotypes and behaviors. Our human fellows have fallen for perpetrating and justifying the destruction of innocent Native Americans, blacks, Armenians, Jews, gays, Roma, Bangladeshis, Cambodians, Bosnians, Tutsis, and...the list goes on. We are masterful at spiraling animosity and hate, at fomenting war and annihilation, even inciting the destruction that ricochets back to ourselves, in response to the tensions, animosities and grievances we stir in the world.
Relinquish our role as bystanders and take serious matters seriously.
What we desperately need is to think, hard, about the role we must play, to foster creativity and cooperation on this planet, so that it, and we, its inhabitants, may survive.
Most of us need to relinquish our role as bystanders, and to take serious matters seriously. Burkini bans―far from trivial―are really about indicting all Muslims. They are the latest element in the smearing of every Muslim which has become normalized, accepted, and purposefully nurtured in our time. They are cynically calculated incitements to whole new chapters of intolerance, exclusion and hatred, which slide toward even deeper levels of destruction.
If you think I am overstating this, just read the hateful comments, including calls to genocide, that currently pile up under any article about anything to do with Muslims. And visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in person or online, and note the individual and incremental stepping stones of policies and legislation that led, inexorably...to the Holocaust itself.
Author’s postscript on being an ally against this oppression:
A question: In those places where hijabs are banned, can women who have lost their hair, perhaps from cancer treatments, wear a headscarf? Further: I’ve been considering what I would do at the beaches where the ban is in force―as a non-Muslim, and as someone who believes this policy is wrong, dangerous, unjust, and hypocritical. I I were male or female, wearing any sort of coverup or wetsuit, I might put a sign on it: “This is my burkini”. Or, I might either buy a burkini and wear it, to test whether it is only Muslims who are are to be banned and penalized, or whether a secular Jewish woman, who just likes the fashion, or wants full sun protection, would be equally held liable. Are the French police checking the religion of those wearing burkinis? Are there now to be religious tests for who may enjoy the beaches?
Or, I might improvise some similar beach fashion; leggings, a long-sleeved tunic, and a wrapped headscarf or hood, to test the arbitrary policing of the policy. If multitudes of non-Muslim women, who object to these laws, wore burkinis, or parts of burkinis (just the tunic, or the outfit minus the head cover), or improvised variations of similar costumes, somewhat akin to the Danes who wore yellow stars to support their fellow Jews under the Nazis; it would expose and interfere with this arbitrary and hypocritical ban, purportedly targeting women on the basis of what they choose to wear...in actuality, targeted because of who they are. Imagine the police, comically perplexed by an array of all sorts of variations of this look, trying to sort out all the arbitrary permutations of this unjust policy. One can imagine it as quite comedic, if it were not so insidious. Someday, when this is history, people will recall those who interfered with and stood up to injustice and intolerance.