Wednesday, July 2, 2008

REJECTED by Cobourg Daily Star, Feb.14/08

I take exception to Jack Foote`s assertion that "certain mode[s] of female attire including the hijab, etc. will not be tolerated.”

I will defend a person`s right anywhere in the world to wear whatever attire they wish; a tarpaulin with a peephole for all I care. Whatever is worn must be freely chosen.

I also want to reserve the right to wear a burqa or niqab myself, if I so freely chose, for whatever reason. After all, how would anyone know what gender is behind the drapery? And so what, anyway?

On several occasions I have performed in the public domain wearing a chrome faceless shield, a device made of chrome mylar that concealed the entire face. It had the same characteristic as chrome sunglasses – I could see out, but no one could see in. My facial identity was better protected than wearing a gansta hoodie, and with no loss of peripheral vision.

The chrome faceless shield permits the enjoyment of being private in public. Likewise, a burqa provides the same experience. The burqa is exceedingly retro, whereas the chrome faceless shield was like so 21st. Interestingly, I was able to persuade many people to perform in the public domain wearing chrome faceless shields.

For heaven’s sake, 70 Units of Verse of the Unitverse wore chrome faceless shields and performed R-VERS OF Two Minutes Hate, August 20, 1978, on Parliament Hill.
The government continued to occupy the nation, but not the imagine nation.

On another tangent, note that there is a group of white-skinned folks in the USA who wear white burqas with dunce hats and hang out at the local Flaming Cross Bar. So if they can legally wear their dirty linen outside, then why can`t some retro culturati wear their burqas?

And wouldn't it be delightful if some graduate from the art college, a first generation Canadian of a Muslim family, made it a project to celebrate the burqa for the 21st century. There is a wide array of fabrics and embroidery and motifs and, and . . . Burqas made of the flags of every nation at the UN. In summer, young women can wear their mini-burqas. I’ll let you imagine burqa beachwear.

The Slobourg Dainty Star sent an intrepid reporter down the 401 to interview young women for the back to college insert. "I like to feel a bit like a woman, yet retain the security of my private identity," said little Ms Guided outside a downtown mosque that had been celebrating the diversity (aka freedom) of Canada. Her friend, Ms Andry added, "On club nights I have a satin layered burqa with a slit all the way up to the knee. Believe me, it doesn`t take that much bait to hook a man`s attention." This was trumped by Ms Sippi, "I just tighten my waist cord a tad, just enough to suggest the curve. It drives men to . . . "

Imagine burqas and niqabs all over Toronto on festive occasions. Lots of children dressed in leprechaun green burqas for the Irish Parade. Lots of brightly coloured burqas, some with strategic slits, getting down at the Caribana Parade. A group of Burqa Boys wearing black mini-burqas solemnly following behind a float in the Gay Pride Parade. The float would consist of Evin Prison wallpaper around the float, and heliumed black balloons fastened to the floor of the Evin Prison. The balloons would float above the wallpaper of the prison. IN IRAN THERE ARE NO HOMOSEXUALS – BECAUSE WE KILL THEM.

There are plenty of short videos on You Tube of women in Tehran`s streets being beaten, arrested and otherwise harassed by the fascion police, female agents of the Decontamination Squad dressed in their black gowns like medieval scarecrows from a Shakespearian play, a tragi-comedy. Please note Mr Foote, that in Tehran there are certain modes of dress that are not tolerated.

The advocacy of prohibitions increases inhibitions. It can be argued that prohibiting a hijab, or burqa, is a small thing; few people wear the burqa or niqab in Canada, so the impact now would be manageable. What would be achieved by such a prohibition? For one thing, such a prohibition unnecessarily confines the imagination from soaring the wild winds of freedom. Just as water follows gravity, the imagination follows freedom.

Look at various world cultures over the past 500 years. The most successful culture the planet has ever known is Western culture. It enriches itself every minute of every day of every year century after century because of ever expanding individual freedoms, and a government’s prime objective is to defend those freedoms.

A dictatorship is defined by the policy that everything is prohibited except that which is permitted by law, whereas in a democracy everything is permitted except that which is prohibited by law. Dictatorship means theological totalitarianism and communist totalitarianism.

The Peoples Republic of Poetry’s Prime Policy is Poetry Proliferation. It asserts that the most effective defence of freedom of speech is freedom of speech. Wherever freedom of speech is restrained poetry proliferation becomes poetry poverty.

-- Wally Keeler

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