Tuesday, February 24, 2004

scarves, hijab, veil, modesty and the right to choose.

I am angry at something which I thought would never happen in Libya.I have wanted to discuss this subject for some time, might as well do it..

As usual at noon I headed yesterday towards the office cafeteria for coffee break , lunch and maybe a little gossip. To my surprise , the waitress in charge had a beautiful new haircut and highlights. I can hear you saying " what's wrong about that. Haircut ? highlights ?
Nothing is wrong, in fact she is gorgeous, a real hottie and would make catwalk stars pale in comparison( wish I could publish her photo), but there is a catch, until the day before she had a veil on....

My surprise is not because of that, because I believe in freedom of choice and human rights and all that a piece of cloth does not change the inner person. What shocked me was that in answer to my simple inquiry as to what happened she said : " the hotel management has forbidden the scarf!"
I mentally realed back , now if it were in Europe or even Turkey or Tunis , I would have accepted this, but in Libya, it is a bit tough. Let's get deeper into the story.

Flashback 3 months ago, this lovely waitress who as I said had nothing to envy pop stars nor international beauties comes with a scarf , so I congratulate her and ask her how did she feel . Please do not think this is getting into private life, we usually congratulate those who have taken the plunge and worn a hijab, and we ask them about what was the factor which dipped the balance in favour of making this decision. She told me that she felt it was better and more comfortable for her this way.

I had my own theory about this, she is a real beauty with a gorgeous body , men were lining up in the cafeteria more than necessary to get to see her or chat her up. This kid needs her job and wants to be left alone. Therefore a scarf would immediately put a little distance because the man who would talk to her would think twice and would be more professional because he would not be thinking about her potential sexiness or readiness to go out with him.
Still, whatever her reasons to wear it it was her personal choice not brother, or father or uncle or anyone else.

Back to the present, how dare the management tell someone to uncover her head in her own country? And where are we heading to if a foreigner in my land is going to dictate dress code. She could not stand up to him as she has no union and no proper contract yet and with the unemployment rate she won't get a better job. Still it made me angry, but this anger is not directed at the foreigner only but at the ineffective people in charge of protecting her rights.

I will talk about the hijab status in Libya and equality of the sexes another time.


1 comment:

The Lost Libyano said...

Love the post!
Let's have a boxer rebellion, and kick out the forigner's.:)