French ‘burkini’ ban, consequence of colonialist history


This video says about itself:

France’s Burkini Ban Rooted in Racist Colonial Past

18 August 2016

French civil liberties activist Yasser Louati says you can’t ‘free women’ by denying them individual choice.

French supreme court: ‘burkini’ bans are illegal.

French prime minister Valls, stop dictating on women’s clothes


Moroccan golfer Maha Haddioui

Today, the tournament for women starts at the Olympic golf links in Rio de Janeiro in Brasil.

Among the golfers is Ms Maha Haddioui from Morocco. As the photo at the top of this blog post shows, Maha Haddioui plays sometimes while wearing shorts. Like a Moroccan woman Olympic boxer did today as well. Though some people in Israel and in other countries would like to ban shorts.

Ms Haddoui plays today in Rio in a miniskirt.

Some people in Morocco (and in other countries) don’t like miniskirts. However, recently a court in Morocco decided that women wearing miniskirts are not criminals.

That verdict in Morocco should be a signal for people, especially politicians, everywhere, to let women wear whatever they feel comfortable in.

However, Blairite prime minister Valls of France thinks differently about the right of women to choose their own clothes. He said today that the supports the bans in France of so called ‘burkini’ bathing gear.

Supposedly, full-body swimsuits are connected to terrorist violence.

That is moronic. Columnist Aleid Truijens writes today in Dutch daily De Volkskrant (print edition) that she personally hates ‘burkini’ swimwear; but that banning it is ridiculous: associating it with terrorism is as irrational as banning falafel food for some supposed association with terrorism. She also points out that less than a century ago, French and other European women used to be punished for ‘indecency’ for not wearing ‘burkini’-like clothes on beaches.

Let us compare with Israel, where there are more violent attacks than in France. The Israeli government takes lots of ‘anti-terrorism’ measures. Many of them correctly criticized as spurious and/or oppressive. However, they don’t include a ‘burkini’ ban. Swimming at beaches of Tel Aviv or elsewhere in full-body swimwear is legal. Women in Israel may wear ‘burkinis’ for being ultra-orthodox Islamic, ultra-orthodox Jewish, or other reasons, and nobody tries to stop them.

As for real reasons, Dutch NOS TV points out that there is an authoritarian tradition in France of dictating to women what they should wear. A tradition going back at least to the nineteenth century, when Algeria became a French colony. Thomas-Robert Bugeaud, marquis de la Piconnerie, duc d’Isly, general of the French occupation army in Algeria, complained in 1840 about Algerian women wearing too many clothes, which the French occupiers should change.

Let us go to the Rio Olympics again.

Two days ago, Dutch Ms Sharon van Rouwendaal won the gold medal in 10 kilometer swimming in Copacabana bay there.

What did she wear? What did the other Olympic swimmers there wear as well?

Sharon van Rouwendaal, photo © epa

Ms Van Rouwendaal’s swimsuit, like a ‘burkini’, covers her legs completely. Her swim cap usually covers her hair. The only difference with some versions of the ‘burkini’ is that her arms are not covered (in other versions of the ‘burkini’, arms are not covered, Dutch daily De Volkskrant, paper edition, writes today on page 3). That difference may be too subtle for bureaucratic right-wing policemen, like the ones who recently arrested ‘burkini’-wearing women on the beach of Cannes. Sharon van Rouwendaal was born in the Netherlands, but trains in France. She should be careful that some stupid bureaucratic right-wing French policeman will not arrest her.

Egyptian women beach volleyball players at the Rio Olympics, playing against Italy, AFP photo

Still, the Rio games. The Egyptian women beach volleyball team wore ‘burkinis’ there. If the weather in Rio became cold, then other beach volleyball players also covered up more than when the weather was warm. Are these Olympic sports people ‘terrorists’, Mr Valls!? They are just as unconnected to terrorism as Moroccan golf player Maha Haddioui and other women wearing miniskirts are.

‘Burkini conflict’ in Corsica, pretext for burkini ban, was not about ‘burkinis’, but about beach space: here.

Full-body swimsuit ban in France


A burkini (full-bodied swimsuit) clad woman on a beach

Once again, French authorities (like authorities in other countries) wage ‘war on terror’ by waging war on women’s rights to dress in whatever way they want.

Sometimes, they wage war on women for wearing miniskirts; sometimes on women for wearing maxiskirts; sometimes on women for wearing trousers; sometimes on women for wearing headscarves.

Now, yet another war.

From Agence France Presse:

Burkinis banned on France’s Cannes beaches by mayor

11 August 2016 • 9:48pm

The mayor of Cannes has banned the wearing of burkinis – full-body swimsuits

Burkini‘ is not really a good name for these swimsuits. It alludes to ‘burqa’, often used wrongly in Western countries for face-covering women’s clothes in Afghanistan. These should be called chadaris, not burqas. Burqas are rare clothes for upper class Pakistani women.

‘Burkinis’ do not cover faces, and so are not only unlike real burqas, but also unlike chadaris.

on the beaches of the French Riviera resort famous for its annual film festival, officials said on Thursday.

The film festival where women were refused entry for not wearing high heel shoes. Another example of denying women the right to wear whatever they feel comfortable in.

Mayor David Lisnard signed off on the ruling that “access to beaches and for swimming is banned to anyone who does not have (bathing apparel) which respects good customs and secularism”, which is a founding principle of the French republic.

“Beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order (crowds, scuffles etc) which it is necessary to prevent,” it says. …

It is as ridiculous and oppressive to associate full-body swimwear with jihadi terrorism, as it would be to associate a women wearing a miniskirt with some conspiracy to violently overthrow some government to replace it with ‘Marxist-feminist’ rule.

Thierry Migoule, head of municipal services for the town, sought to clarify the ruling’s intent.

“We are not talking about banning the wearing of religious symbols on the beach … but ostentatious clothing which refers to an allegiance to terrorist movements which are at war with us,” he said. …

At the Olympic long distance swiming at the Rio Olympics, all women wore smimsuits covering their legs.

The Egyptian women’s beach volleyball team at the Olympics in Brazil wear ‘burkinis’. Yet, NATO countries do not protest about that to the military regime in Egypt; their military allies. Again, if one is so ridiculous to associate ‘burkinis’ with Al Qaeda or ISIS, then it would not be surprising if the same or similar ridiculous authorities would see a woman in shorts or with bare shoulders as a declaration of bloody ‘Maoist people’s war’ or something.

Islamic dress is a contentious issue in France, where the full-face veil is banned in public places. …

Earlier this week a water park in nearby Marseille cancelled plans to host a private event for Muslim women wearing burkinis after protests from politicians.

Look at recent history. Less than a century ago, women at European beaches were arrested for supposedly being ‘indecent’ for wearing anything less than full-body swimwear. Now, the pendulum of authorities’ lunacy has swung from one extreme to the other extreme.

From Associated Press:

A City Hall official said the ordinance, in effect for August, could apply to burkini-style swimsuits. Violators risk a 38 euro ($42) fine.

Middle-aged white men like me have no right to tell women not to wear the burkini. Whether the ban on this modest swimwear is truly a contemporary expression of the French tradition of secularism, I cannot know. What I do know is that it is both wrong and counterproductive: here.

The Cannes Burkini Ban Undermines Freedom Of Muslim Women: here.

French soldiers killed in Libya


This 20 July 2016 video is called Three French soldiers die in Libya helicopter crash.

From Al Jazeera today:

France confirms three soldiers killed in Libya

French President Francois Hollande confirms three officers killed while on an intelligence mission in Libya.

Three French soldiers have been killed in Libya, officials have said, also confirming for the first time that members of France’s special forces are engaged in operations in the North African country.

French President Francois Hollande said on Wednesday the three soldiers had been killed in a helicopter crash during an intelligence-gathering operation.

“At this moment we are carrying out dangerous intelligence operations [in Libya],” Hollande said in a speech.

France’s Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement that he regretted “the loss of three French officers who died while on mission in Libya” – but gave no further information as to where or how the troops were killed.

Earlier on Wednesday, government spokesman Stephane Le Foll provided the first official confirmation that members of the French special forces were operating in Libya, which has been in turmoil since 2011 following the uprising that led to the removal and killing of Muammar Gaddafi.

“Special forces are there, of course, to help and to make sure France is present everywhere in the struggle against terrorists,” Le Foll said.

French special forces, in conjunction with Britain and the US, have been advising forces loyal to eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar, which have been battling opponents in Benghazi for more than two years, the Reuters news agency reported.

Libyan military officials would not comment on a report that the French nationals were in a helicopter that crashed near Benghazi on Sunday. Officials said at the time that four people had died in the crash, all of them Libyan.

A group called the Benghazi Defence Brigades claimed to have shot down the aircraft.

France and Britain led the push in 2011 for the NATO-led air campaign that helped topple Gaddafi’s regime. Both countries were later accused of not doing enough to support Libya after [this] military intervention.

Libya has been split between rival governments and parliaments based in the western and eastern regions, each backed by different militias and tribes.

Libya: Leaked tapes suggest West supports Haftar. Air traffic recordings indicate General Haftar receives Western support despite his opposition to [United Nations-backed unity] Tripoli government: here.

From the BBC today:

The oil-rich country once had one of the highest standards of living in Africa with free healthcare and free education, but five years on from the uprising it is facing a financial crisis.

Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian reported the deaths of three agents of the General Directorate of Exterior Security’s (DGSE) Action Service, which is carrying out black ops on Libyan soil. The incident underscores the illegal character of the French government’s ongoing military operations in Libya, which are being carried out behind the backs of the French people: here.

After Democrats’ celebration of militarism, US warplanes bomb Libya: here.

US airstrikes on the Libyan coast city of Sirte, which began on Monday, continued yesterday as part of what American officials have made clear will be an ongoing military campaign. While nominally directed against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militias, the fresh eruption of American militarism is more broadly aimed at ensuring US dominance in the region: here.

American ground troops were involved in fighting in Libya this week, in operations that include supporting local militias and coordinating air attacks from a secret base just outside of Sirte, a coastal city that was reduced to rubble by the 2011 US-NATO bombing campaign: here.

Nice atrocity perpetrator ‘not religious, marriage on the rocks’


This video says about itself:

Nice Truck Attack Investigation Begins

15 July 2016

Investigations have begun into the incident that left 84 people dead including ten children.

Dutch NOS TV reports today about Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the local truck driver who extremely probably was the perpetrator of the bloodbath in Nice, France and was shot dead by police. He was married and had three children.

Translation of what Mr Bouhlel’s next door neighbour said to France 3 TV station:

he is convinced that the attack has nothing to do with Islam. “He has nothing to do with religion, he does not pray, he does not observe Ramadan. He is a depressed man who is in divorce. He lives alone and has financial problems.”

Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, Driver In Nice Attack, Wasn’t ‘Stable Psychologically,’ Family Says. The 31-year-old reportedly had no known ties to terror groups: here.

Also from NOS TV today (translated):

Nice perpetrator had no ties to terrorist groups, justice department thinks …

According to the justice department, it does not appear that the attack was the work of an Islamic terrorist organization. The French Prime Minister Valls said in the news of public broadcaster France 2 that Lahouaiej probably had links to radical Islamic groups.

So, Prime Minister Valls does not listen to the investigators of his own justice department. He does not listen to the next door neighbour of the perpetrator. Because that would not fit into Valls’ policies of Islamophobia (and discrimination against Roma), anti-democratic state of emergency against workers, environmentalists, etc.

[French President] Hollande’s promise to respond militarily to the Nice attack just continues the West’s vicious circle of terror and war. At some point, we in the West are going to have to learn that if we intervene militarily in Mali or Iraq or Libya or Syria or interfere in Turkey, or Egypt, or the Gulf, or the Maghreb – then we will not be safe ‘at home’: here.

USA: Newt Gingrich: Politician who almost became Donald Trump’s VP calls for Muslim deportation after Nice attack: here.

Nice attack: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump agree that US is ‘at war’. Both presidential candidates offered their different approaches to the war against Isis – who has not claimed responsibility for Nice: here.

A Mosque In Rhode Island Was Vandalized After The Nice Attacks: here.

Nice attack: Sikh man Veerender Jubbal wrongly identified on social media in France terror for second time: here.

Truck massacre in Nice, France


Imad Dafaaoui, pictured here in Nice, France, on July 13, 2016. He says he missed being struck by a truck that plowed through crowds at Bastille Day

From ABC news from the USA, about France:

By David Caplan

July 15, 2016, 12:00 AM ET

A Moroccan university student vacationing in Nice is grateful to be alive after the truck driven by a terrorist that plowed into a large crowd during Bastille Day celebrations Thursday night missed crushing the 20-year-old by less than eight inches.

Everyone’s solidarity should be with the survivors and loved ones of the victims of this crime.

The truck driver responsible for this atrocity was definitely a ‘terrorist’ in the sense that he aimed at striking terror into people and killed and injured many human beings. According to French police, the perpetrator was a local man with a record of non-political, non-religious violent crime. So, as far as we know now, not fitting into the media image of ‘terrorists’ as Islamic fanatics traveling from far away.

What was the motive for this unspeakable crime? We may never know, as police shot the perpetrator dead.

So far, I did not read a few questions in corporate media: Was the murderer drunk? On drugs? Did he have a conflict at work? Did he have a conflict with his family, making him hate ‘the whole world’ irrationally? Some possible motives, different from the usual cliché ‘The Muslims are at it again’ explanation.

Imad Dafaaoui’s evening started on a festive note, but turned near-deadly: “I was at my friend’s apartment, and we heard fireworks coming from the beach, so we decided to put on our clothes and go see the fireworks,” Daffaoui told ABC News early Friday morning from Nice. “We went there, we took photos.”

After the fireworks finished, Dafaaoui and his friend headed back to their car to grab a cell phone battery pack — and that’s when the pair’s night out turned into a nightmare.

“We were next to the Hotel Negresco, and we were taking pictures, and then we heard people screaming from the back,” he says. “We were like what’s going on? There were people running towards me, and people were screaming.”

Then, Dafaaoui spotted the truck on its deadly path. “I saw a huge truck, crushing over people,” he says. “It was running over people. Some people were trying to get out the way. Some people were in shock. I started to run away. I was in shock. I couldn’t even think. I was running. There was a bench in front of me, so I had to jump over it, so I jumped over it and fell over on a woman.”

He continues to recall his near-death experience, “That’s when the truck was coming toward me. I just closed my eyes. It was so close. I was just waiting to die. The truck was really close to me. The truck crashed the bench. It was 20 centimeters away from me. I was in shock.”

By Oscar Grenfell today:

According to initial reports, at least 84 people have been murdered and up to 130 more injured, after a lorry was deliberately ploughed at high speeds into crowds at a Bastille Day celebration in the city of Nice, in southern France, late Thursday night. The death toll from the horrific attack has continued to rise throughout the day. Some children are among the victims.

French President Francois Hollande travelled from the south of France to Paris for crisis talks, while the streets of Nice were flooded with heavily-armed police. Hollande immediately asserted that the atrocity was of a “terrorist nature.” …

As yet, no organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Witnesses said they saw a large white truck speed into crowds that had gathered on the beachside Promenade des Anglais to watch fireworks celebrating the country’s national holiday, at around 10:30 pm. Nice, located on the French Riviera, is a popular destination for tourists and holidaying French nationals. …

Images on social media showed the nearby Hotel Negresco being used as a makeshift hospital for the wounded. Families with missing relatives published photos on social media, in the hope of news from their loved ones. …

If the perpetrators’ motives are confirmed, the incident in Nice will be the third mass casualty terrorist attack in France in the past 18 months.

In the two previous attacks, the terrorists were well-known to French intelligence agencies. They were part of a broader jihadist milieu with intimate connections to the Islamist groups that have operated as the chief proxy force of the US-led and French-backed regime-change operations in Libya and Syria.

On January 7, 2015, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi launched an attack on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine, killing 11 and wounding 11 more. Their associate, Amedy Coulibaly, was killed in a hostage siege at a Jewish supermarket.

The Kouachi brothers had been under surveillance by security agencies between 2010 and 2015, because of their direct ties to leaders of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). French intelligence inexplicably stopped monitoring the brothers just months before they carried out the attack. It was also revealed that Coulibaly had received weapons from Claude Hermant, a police informant tied to the fascistic and anti-Muslim National Front. …

Each atrocity has been used to expand police and intelligence powers. Following the Paris attacks, the Hollande government instituted an unprecedented “state of emergency,” providing authorities with the power to ban demonstrations and detain suspects without charge. Over recent months, millions of French workers and students have defied the laws, engaging in mass demonstrations and strikes against the Socialist Party’s regressive El Khomri labour legislation.

The latest attack comes amid mounting social tensions and escalating French participation in US-led military operations in the Middle East, leading to warnings by security agencies of likely terrorist responses. …

In his Bastille Day speech earlier yesterday, Hollande announced that France would step-up its operations against Islamic State [ISIS], particularly targeting the city of Mosul. …

Like the US, the French government has actively backed Islamist groups in a bid to topple the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. However, Washington viewed Islamic State [ISIS]’s advance into Iraq during 2014 as a threat to the US-backed government and its dominance of Iraqi oil and resources. The US and its allies, including France, have waged an air war on the Islamic State [ISIS], while continuing to back other Islamist forces within Syria.

In his speech, Hollande also pointed to the growth of social tensions within France and a mounting political crisis, declaring: “I must protect France, it’s fragile, it can crack at any moment.” He said his government would end the “state of emergency” after July 26, and reduce expanded police numbers put in place after the Paris attacks.

“We can’t prolong the state of emergency forever,” Hollande stated. “That would make no sense. It would mean that we were no longer a republic with laws which can apply in all circumstances.”

Hours later, he invoked the Nice atrocity to extend the extraordinary powers for another three months. He invited military volunteers to assist the police, and declared that there would be no reduction in police or military numbers.

Militarism trumps football in Paris, France


This 10 July 2016 video is called France vs. Portugal – Euro 2016 Final.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The French national football team will not get a triumphal parade on the Champs Elysées [in Paris] if it wins the European [football] Championship final against Portugal [tonight]. The Prefect of Paris says that for “material reasons” is not possible to allow crowds there. According to the chief of police the promenade should be prepared for the military parade on July 14, the national holiday.

So, according to the present French government, a militarist show is more important than people enjoying a bloodless, one should hope, game of football.

By the way, why is July 14 the French national holiday? Because then in 1789 the French revolution against absolute monarchy started. It started that 14 July with a crowd of people (a ‘mob’ according to the absolute monarchist government) storming the royal Bastille prison to free the regime’s political prisoners; against the military and police of the French government then.

So, 14 July should be a celebration of the common people. Not of militarism.

The state of emergency in France is definitely not only against terrorists. It is against all Muslims. It is against environmentalists. It is against workers’ rights. Now, it is against football fans as well.

Police teargas and water cannon against football fans at Paris fanzone: here.