Maryam Namazie came to take down the veil.
At a time when the wearing of burqas and their beachwear variants is an incredibly heated topic, Namazie wasted no time, and withheld no ire, lambasting the enforced veiling of women in Islamic societies.
“Many feminists,” said Namazie, as well as other progressives and secularists, “defend the right to be veiled, but never the right to be unveiled and then live to tell the tale. What a betrayal.”
Namazie said that what those outside the Muslim world often don’t understand is that “culture isn’t homogeneous,” that there is a disconnect between what might be a well-intentioned defense of the “right” to wear the veil. But Namazie says this is not a right, it’s a forced disappearance.
“The veil, and the segregation that follows, are merely the most public manifestation of putting women in their place,” said Namazie, also saying, “Your refusal to disappear is an act of dissent.”
The veil is part and parcel of the larger marginalization and containment of women in Islamic societies, that emerges in countless other ways, among them being segregation, the absolute power of husbands over their wives, the rules about what size of rock is appropriate for stoning a woman, and the notion that the veil is really for the woman’s own protection.
Namazie impressed upon us that in these societies, “It is a crime to be a woman, and a woman who refuses to be disappeared.” Those women need us as allies.