What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Quote of the day for August 12, 2009

From the Taliban's position on Sarkozy's position on some of France's Muslims' position on the proper female dress code:
"The French Coastal Areas Represent "The Kind of Freedom and Character Sarkozy Wants for Muslim Women"

"Mr. Sarkozy and supporters of his views want to drag Muslim women to the miserable level of Western women, who have lost both their decency and character by exposing their bodies to nakedness. They have become a showpiece for fornicators, especially during their youth. These licentious men hang naked photos of women everywhere, even on valueless items like shampoo, toothpaste, etc. If one happens to see the coastal areas of France, then one very easily reaches the conclusion of the kind of freedom and character Sarkozy wants for Muslim women.

"In France, London, and other European countries, women are forced to turn to pornography. Thousands of women are smuggled from Russia and the Caucasus; young girls are surreptitiously brought to pander to the sexual desires of unscrupulous lascivious persons. The question is why they do not make any effort to save these miserable women from this humiliating life and to protect their characters. But Mr. Sarkozy and some of his Western supporters, who are born and raised in a family environment where they are attached to such a way of life, are now bent on jeopardizing the Muslim women personally."
Source: Taliban Statement on Sarkozy's Islamic Veil Comments: 'Anti-Islamic' Sarkozy 'Wants to Arrogantly Force Muslim Women to Lose Their Identity by Mingling in the Lascivious Western Culture' (published yesterday, on August 11 @ MEMRI; originally from July 9, according to the first footnote).

Some (relatively) deeper thoughts first:

1) How on Earth do the Taliban get to connect to the "coastal areas of France" so strongly? "If one happens to see the coastal areas of France" is a rather personal way of putting it... It's not like saying "hey, we checked out Google images for ideas regarding the proper hijab, in this awful internet café in Quetta the other day, and what we found there was beyond anything we could ever imagine..." Is the cited reference just indication of a connection through digital space; proto-Salafism in a computer-mediated environment (to link to an interesting article just per chance)? Or has somebody from the Taliban's ranks been there (somewhere) and seen that (something)? Or was that someone someone from the Taliban at all? How much does the statement itself come from the Taliban proper? Has an Arab friend of the Taliban tried to give an edge to a Taliban media operation targeted at the Middle Eastern and the French public in this way, maybe?

2) In this conflict over interpretations of how one should properly "be in the world," like it or not, women have become subjects and objects of bargaining. Multi-dimensional globalisation has connected us to such a degree that (this will sound dreadful, I know, but it is an element of reality that I am trying to describe...) standards of femininity are being negotiated symbolically and at times violently. Incompatible standards (over other issues as well, of course) are in fact driving conflict themselves, to some extent. Ok, I know I noticed nothing new, but this "coastal areas of France" thing has really brought this home to me.

To chill out a little, and forget about the world of conflict in the name of world peace, here is a great picture from the coastal areas of France.

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