Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Unveiled Syrian Woman Goes Viral

Dana Bakdounis

Winston in George Orwell's novel 1984 experienced a dream about Julia, his love and a rebel to the absolute dictatorship that governed them, ripping her bland garments off in an open field. He thought to himself, that she was... with one sharp motion of the arm freeing herself from Big Brothers chains. 

This picture reminded me of this great moment in the book, as it is completely analogous to it. Dana Bakdounis who is a 20 year old Syrian woman posted a facebook photo of herself without her head garment and showed her passport photo which represented herself within the system. The system is of course the Muslim Sharia-law system, where religious dogma are installed into the so called justice system. The system, generally, is a fundamentalist-anti-equality one which puts men as the superior and women as their demeanor...  a classic patriarchal society based on no evidence. (No such society can be founded on evidence as there is none!)

Bakdounis is brave. It is extremely disrespectful.. almost heretical to unveil oneself in public (according to Muslim preachers). In some parts of the middle east such unveiling would result in the death penalty or beatings and humiliation. However she is not the only one pushing away from this tradition, universities in Syria are banning full face veils as the staff of the universities such as, Kinda al-Shammat (a law professor) are saying that it contradicts the universities academic values.

"We have never gone to the extreme left or the extreme right," - Kinda al Shammat

The photo was placed on a feminist facebook page: which has 71,905 likes!!!!  Lot's of support was given by women from Syria who are religious and they respected her audacity and her determination to rightfully claim the freedoms they deserve.

What I would like to see is Bakdounis' renewed passport with a photo of her without her head veil. I say this because your passport is your international identity, having to wear a head veil is implying that it is part of who you are... the fact is it shouldn't be. It is mere cloth, it is an accessory. What is intrinsic to you is your body and your brain (and all the wonderful thoughts and memories that come with it).

Is this another crack in the dam of a fundamentalist society holding back the natural flow of freedom and honesty? Yes. Ideas that are false, made up to numb society will be found out by reason and the need to progress. Society cannot progress when its basis in law and in the community is founded upon religious dogma.

"I want justice because I already have my freedom, 
and I'm not afraid of anything now, now I can do 
whatever I believe it is right to do” - Dana Bakdounis

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