Stories about France

Pakistan equals anarchy, not ‘French revolution’

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very Heaven! William Wordsworth wrote these lines in “The Prelude,” about his experiences during the French Revolution. I doubt Wordsworth would be singing these verses if he saw modern-day Pakistan. Pakistan is not France Nowadays, there seems to be new genre of opinion articles in Pakistan focused on trying to find similarities between pre-revolutionary France and contemporary Pakistan. Indeed, ‘revolution’ is a word that has been constantly used in the Pakistani media during the last month. Ever since the floods, political leaders and media personalities have suddenly stumbled upon ...

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Muslims banned the burqa before France

France’s ban on the niqab caused uproar among Muslims who felt that they were being targeted. More recently Shiv Sena’s idiotic demand to ban the burqa in India- after someone wearing a burqa stole a child from a hospital- attracted considerable attention from the media. Unfortunately, when steps that go against this religious freedom happen in Muslim majority states like Turkey and Kosovo, we remain silent hypocrites. While there was some talk about Turkey’s headscarf ban a few years back, I am surprised that I had never even heard of a year-old ban on headscarves in Kosovo. Perhaps this is because ...

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Burqa, babes and breast cancer

When I saw the video  of two women (one of them Muslim) walking around Paris veiled faces and bare legs, I couldn’t figure out what the purpose was. Yes, they want to bring attention to the burqa ban, but what is their stance on it? Regardless of whether I am for the ban or not my only thought was: well, they look silly, and the video certainly wouldn’t change my take on the matter. If their intention is to support freedom of dress, I suppose they are making a statement (along with creating a great photo op for everyone on ...

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Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

When I was at university, the one person I would have difficulty saying ‘hi’ to on campus was a junior who kept her face hidden by a thick black veil. As is the case with cursory greetings in the passing, so much is gauged with facial expressions that I could never make out her response. Then, in my last year, a close friend made the decision to start wearing the niqab and subsequently almost completely dropped off the social radar. I felt her decision was extreme and unnecessary and I felt a lot of hostility towards the piece of ...

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To veil or not to veil

First it was Egypt to take action against the veil, after a top cleric announced that the face veil was to be banned in certain educational institutions in Egypt; then France followed suit, down-right banning the face veil for security reasons; and then Syria in toe, banned the face veil in universities and educational facilities because parents of university students do not want their children to be educated in an ‘environment of extremism’. And to add to the list, certain European countries are now debating whether they should give in to the face veil ban, or allow citizen’s their ...

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In the commune: The French burqa ban

This week Syria banned the full face veil in unversities. France has also declared wearing a burqa or full veil illegal. The new laws have inspired support from some and been condemned by others. We asked Tribune bloggers whether or not the move is justified. Manal Shakir: I don’t believe this debate should be taken out of context. People need to keep things in perspective. A veil is a piece of cloth, just like a beard is just facial hair. It does not say Muslim or non-Muslim. It is a physical symbol which portrays what an individual may feel on the ...

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The great Burqa debate

Finally, French legislators have passed the bill banning the female veil in public, which covers the whole face and body. If passed by the Senate in September it will become a law. The breaking of this law will result in a fine and if men force their wives to wear full veils they will face up to one year in prison and a fine. As expected the proposed law has sparked ‘the great burqa debate’ among Muslim and non-Muslims circles all over again. Many Muslims, especially those living in France term it a violation of their basic civil rights. It ...

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Multi-Culti Mundial?

The 2010 World Cup officially began two weeks ago, but in reality had begun for South Africa since 2004. There are six different (language) versions of the official world cup anthem ‘wave your flag.’ They all feature K’naan and have the same cheering crowds, bright colours, contagious excitement, obligatory celebration of nationalism and of course, all celebrate the flag. They all sell patriotic pride K’naan collaborates with Nancy Ajram to produce the Arabic version, with David Bisbal to produce the Spanish version, with Jacky Cheung and Jane Zhang for the Chinese version, with Féfé for the French version. Skank did ...

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France’s defeat, Zidane’s ultimate vindication

You were there when that red card was shown that changed your feelings about the Italian Football team forever, we all were. In fact I struggle to think of an event since 9/11 that shocked such a large audience watching their TV sets, in what was a relatively calm atmosphere some 5 minutes prior to the fact. The truth is that Zinedine Zidane carried France through to the Final of the 2006 World Cup almost single handedly. That he potentially threw away what was probably the best four weeks of football he ever played with an emotionally charged head butt ...

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Group stage deciders: Matches to watch and matches to miss

In case you didn’t know, the last games for each group will be played simultaneously. Therefore, unless you have your two TV’s set up side by side you need to make a decision on which matches to concentrate on and which matches to occasionally flip to. Group A Match to Watch: Uruguay v Mexico (initially at least) Unfortunately for South Africa, if Uruguay and Mexico draw they both go through. There is a tradition of this in the World Cup. In 1982, West Germany and Austria essentially had a training session for 80 minutes to ensure they both qualified at the expense ...

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