‘Burkini’ still banned in Corsica, France


Women in burkini and bikini play together, ANP photo

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

A judge in Corsica has maintained the ban on wearing a burkini on the beach of Sisco.

The court in Bastia decided that the ban is legal because public order was likely to be disturbed. The burkini ban was established in Sisco after last month on the beach there had been a big brawl. …

The French Council of State has deleted the burkini ban in the seaside resort Vileneuve-Loubet. According to the supreme administrative court, the ban violates basic freedoms, but can be established in a case of threats to the public order. …

Later, however, witnesses contradicted that burkinis provoked the fighting [in Sisco]; they said the quarrel arose because a group of bathers had claimed a piece of beach for themselves.

Burkini-Wearing Woman Gets Chased Off French Beach. Villeneuve-Loubet’s burkini ban has been overturned. But that didn’t stop beachgoers from threatening 23-year-old Zeynab Alshelh, 09/19/2016 09:48 am ET: here.

Burkini ban is illegal, Belgian court says. A Dutch swimming pool stopped a Syrian refugee girl in burkini once, but admitted her next time: here.

1 August 2018: now, French police in anti-nudity witch-hunt.

French Blairite government divided on ‘burkini’ ban


Woman bathing in 'burkini', ANP photo

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Burkini ban divides French government

Today, 00:32

The French Minister of the Interior Cazeneuve does not believe in banning burkinis. In an interview with the newspaper La Croix, he said that such a prohibition does not work, is contrary to the constitution and only increases tensions in the population.

Cazeneuve thus goes against the opinion of Prime Minister Valls, who believes that banning non-revealing clothes on the French beaches is in fact a good thing.

Last week, the French Council of State provisionally stopped the burkini ban in the southern French resort Villeneuve-Loubet. The highest administrative court in the land ruled that the ban violates the freedom of religion and individual freedom.

Sarkozy launches French presidential bid based on anti-Muslim hysteria: here.

In a fundamental attack on freedom of religion, a French Muslim woman was detained and fined by police solely because she was wearing a Muslim headscarf. Siam, a former flight attendant from Toulouse who was vacationing with her family in Cannes, was on the beach when police received a call criticizing the “ostentatious” character of her headscarf: here. As for the French witchhunt against women’s clothes supposedly being ‘secularist’, a person defending the police action against that headscarf-wearing woman shouted: ‘Here we are all Catholics!’ (Would that person also have agreed if police had attacked a Roman Catholic nun wearing nun’s clothes?)

While the liberal democracy of Israel tells women to get dressed, that of France undresses them. Both outcomes represent a defeat for women and their freedom of movement in the public sphere. Allison Kaplan Sommer, Aug 29, 2016 7:33 PM: here.

The rise of Islamophobia in France grew out of elites’ need to manage working-class resistance, by Nick Riemer: here.

France’s supreme court decides ‘burkini’ bans are illegal


This video says about itself:

Top French Court Rules to Suspend Burkini Ban

26 August 2016

The country’s highest court has suspended a ban on full-body burkini swimsuits pending a definitive ruling.

Meanwhile, French Blairite prime minister Valls has said he disagrees with the supreme court; but some female ministers in Valls’ government have said they agree.

Race/Class/Gender: French secularism and Whiteness: here.

This Muslim woman summed up exactly why the burkini ban is so absurd: here.

Armed French police forces Muslim woman to undress on beach


Armed police against Muslim woman on Nice beach

From the Daily Mail in Britain:

Get ’em off! Armed police order Muslim woman to remove her burkini on packed Nice beach – as mother, 34, wearing Islamic headscarf is threatened with pepper spray and fined in Cannes

These images show police in Nice ordering a woman to strip down

A woman in Cannes claimed ‘racist’ officers wanted to humiliate her

French court this week upheld ‘burkini ban‘ – ruling it could cause offence

Algerian businessman said that he will pay any penalties women incur …

Updated: 09:44 GMT, 24 August 2016 …

The French ban on the burkini is threatening to turn into a farce as police officers armed with pepper spray and batons marched onto a beach today and ordered a woman to strip off.

Four burly cops stood over the middle-aged woman, who had been quietly sunbathing on the Promenade des Anglais beach in Nice … and watched her take off a Muslim-style garment. …

Another young Muslim mother was ordered off the beach at Cannes and fined for simply wearing a headscarf.

Three armed officers pointed a pepper spray canister in the 34-year-old’s face and told her she was in breach of a new rule outlawing swimming costumes that cover the entire body.

She said the ‘racist’ officers simply wanted to humiliate her in front of her children and other family members, even though she was not even wearing a burkini.

The Nice authorities, according to Dutch NOS TV today, have banned ‘burkini’ bathing gear ‘because of terrorist attacks’.

‘Dear’ Nice authorities: the bloody atrocity in your city was not perpetrated by any headscarf or ‘burkini’ wearing woman. It was by a truck driver who never went to a mosque, never prayed, never fasted during Ramadan, who drank alcohol and ate pork. But who had grave mental health problems, financial problems and divorce problems, and was said to be a closet gay man.

Conspiracy theorists blame the 1789 French revolution on ‘the Illuminati’ or on ‘the Jews.’ Though the real cause was the inequality and oppression under the French absolute monarchy.

Conspiracy theorists claim that Jamaican Olympics gold medal athlete Usain Bolt is supposedly a member of the Illuminati; non-existent now, existent only for a short time in eighteenth century Bavaria in Germany.

Conspiracy theorists blame the 1917 Russian revolution on ‘the Jews’; more specifically on the non-existent ‘Elders of Zion’. Though the real cause was the inequality and oppression under the Russian czarist absolute monarchy.

And similarly now, ISIS-style terrorism gets blamed on women’s swimming gear; instead of on its real causes, like the CIA‘s 1980s war in Afghanistan; Bush‘s and Blair’s 2003 invasion of Iraq; NATO countries’ alliances with Erdogan’s Turkey, the Saudi monarchy and similar regimes; discrimination against immigrant people in NATO countries, driving naïve teenagers into the arms of jihadists; etc.

From daily The Guardian in Britain today:

French police make woman remove clothing on Nice beach following burkini ban

Authorities in 15 towns have banned burkinis, citing public concern following recent terrorist attacks in the country

Last year, French authorities closed off a public beach near Cannes for the benefit of the royal family of Saudi Arabia.

I bet the French authorities did not enforce ‘secularist’ and ‘republican’ ‘decency police’ rules against any Saudi royals then. And I suspect that if the Saudi royals will come back, then these authorities will close off that beach again for all non-royals; headscarf or no headscarf, ‘burkini’ or bikini. Even though it is far less far-fetched to link the Saudi government to terrorism than to link non-royal women wanting to swim or sunbathe in clothes they feel comfortable in.

The campaign in Germany for domestic repression and war is assuming ever more openly racist forms. Last Friday, the federal and state interior ministers of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) spoke out in favour of a partial ban on the burqa and niqab during their so-called “Berlin Declaration.” Since then, politicians and the media have intensified their agitation against Muslim citizens and refugees: here.

Syrian refugee wins Olympic swimming heat


This video says about itself:

Yusra Mardini: A Refugee at the Olympics

6 August 2016

First she had to swim to Greece to save her life, now she is swimming for the gold at the Olympics: meet Yusra Mardini of Syria, competing for the Refugee Olympic Team.

Rio Olympic games 2016: Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini, who saved 20 lives crossing the Mediterranean, wins 100m butterfly heat.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Perhaps the happiest tale of the day was that of swimmer Yusra Mardini who is representing the Refugee team under the Olympic flag and won her 100m butterfly heat to huge cheers in the pool at the Aquatics Stadium in Rio.

Her time wasn’t enough to win her a place in the semi-finals but it won the hearts of the spectators and is the latest chapter in an incredible story. Mardini, 18, and her sister fled war-torn Syria a year ago and travelled through Lebanon and Turkey before trying to reach Greece by a boat fit for six but carrying 20 people.

The motor failed and Mardini jumped in and swam for three and a half hours, pulling the boat and stopping it from capsizing before reaching land on the island of Lesbos where she could barely stand. She was given asylum in Berlin where her swimming talents were spotted and that led to Rio and Saturday’s sterling effort. She goes again on Wednesday in the freestyle heats.

MEET TEAM REFUGEES “Team Refugees, the Olympic Games’ first ever team of refugee athletes, received a standing ovation on Friday night when they entered the stadium during the games’ opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. ” [HuffPost]

Yet the opening days of the Summer Olympic Games indicated that the authorities have zero tolerance for even minimal forms of protest (people holding signs protesting current “interim president” Michel Temer have been expelled from stadiums) and have brought back memories for many of the methods employed during the 21 years of dictatorship (1964-1985), when democratic rights were under constant attack and bloody police repression was an everyday affair. Democratic rights, in Brazil and elsewhere, are fast becoming “a dead letter”: here.

‘Whites only’ swimming pools in Austria


Racially segregated swimming pool sign in Selma, Alabama, USA

This photo shows a racially segregated swimming pool sign in Selma, Alabama, USA; when there were racist ‘Jim Crow’ laws.

The Wits Justice Project in South Africa writes about its context:

We the People: Policing the Pools

June 15, 2015

At our editorial meeting last week, the Wits Justice Project (WJP) watched a video that has been circulating over social media that depicts a white police officer using excessive force against a group of black teenagers at a pool party in McKinney, Texas. The most shocking frame of the video shows the officer violently manhandling a young black teenage girl of slight build and waving a gun at two black teenage boys who try to intervene on her behalf.

This 6 June 2015 video is about police violence against swimming children in McKinney, Texas.

We reflected on race and spatial exclusion, racist policing in the United States, the role of gender, the policing of juveniles, and South Africa’s own history of segregated pools and beaches. Since the video was first released, Police Corporal Eric Casebolt was suspended and then he subsequently resigned from the department. Whether criminal charges will be filed against him remains to be seen. The Black Lives Matter movement has come to McKinney. The protests have started. A spotlight shines on McKinney and offers insights into the way that race plays out in America. The conversations will continue.

This blog has been written by Beena Ahmad, WJP visiting researcher from the United States. …

In an interview with National Public Radio, Jeff Wiltse, a University of Montana history professor, discussed the racialized history of swimming pools in America. Community pools first proliferated on the eve of segregation, and they were built in working class neighbourhoods as well as more affluent ones. They were noticeably less available in areas that were predominantly African American. During Jim Crow, segregation was enforced by laws, as well as through violence perpetrated by whites against blacks with police acquiescence, even in the absence of an official policy of segregation.

“Wade-ins” were held in a number of communities to protest segregated beaches and swimming pools. In one famous account captured on photograph, a Florida motel owner poured acid into a pool to force black bathers out of the pool. Some credit this story with playing a role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act. According to Wiltse, by the time of desegregation, pool construction had become cheaper. Whites stopped using municipal pools and started building pools in private communities or in their backyards. Many municipalities have since closed public pools, and there is a racial disparity as to who has access to swimming pools in America today.

By Markus Salzmann in Austria:

Austrian municipalities impose ban on refugees using swimming pools

2 February 2016

The Austrian towns of Korneuburg and Mödling have imposed a ban on refugees using their public swimming pools. Refugees are allowed to use these facilities only if accompanied by an “escort.”

In Mödling, Councilor Robert Mayer of the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) announced the measure by issuing instructions to the town’s employees. He had an order posted on notice boards stipulating the ban on unaccompanied people “with immigrant backgrounds.”

He justified the measure by saying that young refugees from two nearby facilities had jumped into the pool in underwear or sweatpants. …

The situation is similar in Korneuburg. Because bathers allegedly felt harassed and molested, a general ban on refugees was imposed. …

The web portal Vienna.at cited police officials who claimed that eight Afghan asylum-seekers had misbehaved, making noise and jumping from the edge of the pool, which is forbidden. It was also claimed that a man had gotten lost and wandered into the women’s changing room. The police acknowledged that there had been no criminal assaults and no charges had been filed.

On the basis of these flimsy pretexts, the city imposed a blanket ban on refugees and hired a security service to enforce it.

On social media, thousands have reacted angrily to the ban and the right-wing officials who imposed it. Many have drawn parallels to the methods employed by the Nazis against the Jews. However, ÖVP Mayor Christian Gepp has defended the racist measures.

Such discrimination against refugees is not limited to Austria. In Bornheim near Bonn in Germany, the town’s social affairs department, which is controlled by the Green Party, has banned adult male refugees from using the public swimming pool. Here too there have been no legal complaints.

In Koksijde in Belgium, the mayor almost succeeded in banning all refugees from the local swimming pool because one Iraqi refugee had helped a little girl distressed by a whitewater whirlpool; leading to a false accusation of padeophile sexual assault.

The same week in which the bans were imposed, the Austrian government closed the country’s borders to refugees. At a refugee summit, leaders of the governing parties—the Austrian Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) and the Austrian Peoples Party (ÖVP)—agreed to introduce a ceiling for refugees. As Chancellor Werner Faymann (SPÖ) told the press, Austria will take in only 37,500 asylum-seekers in this year. This number, added to the 90,000 refugees who have remained in the country in the past year, brings the total to the limit of 1.5 percent of the population set by the government.

The ruling parties are now following the line of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ). The Greens, who are closely linked with the government parties at the provincial and district level, are joining in the witch-hunting of refugees.

Green Party politician Efgani Dönmez, who until last year was a member of the Federal Council, the upper chamber of parliament, appeared Friday as a guest speaker at an FPÖ event in Linz. …

Burgenland, where the Social Democrats are in an alliance with the far-right FPÖ in the state government, has announced that it intends to set up neighbourhood watch groups in its municipalities. According to the state premier Hans Niessl (SPÖ), “security partners” will carry out a broad range of tasks. The details of the powers they will have are currently being negotiated, but they will definitely include the power to check identity cards. Even arming the civil militia is under discussion.

The deputy state premier Johann Tschürtz (FPÖ) announced that the project would initially be introduced in nine municipalities. The municipalities selected include Schattendorf, where, on January 30, 1927, members of the fascist Veterans Association shot into a Social Democratic meeting, killing a worker and a six-year-old child.

The introduction of neighbourhood watch groups evokes memories of this dark chapter in Austrian history. The acquittal of the murderers by the judiciary in 1927 led to a mass demonstration in Vienna, against which the police carried out a massacre, killing 89 workers.

Tschürtz explained that the makeup of the “security partners” remained unclear, but might involve private security companies. It is likely that the FPÖ will use its close ties to the neo-Nazi scene to recruit thugs from this milieu for the neighbourhood watch groups. Last year, FPÖ politician Ralph Schäfer tried to establish a neighbourhood watch group in the city of Wels that included right-wing extremists known to the police.

The links between the FPÖ and the extreme right are well documented. In his book Strache: The Brown Swamp, author Hans-Henning Scharsach details “many, many points of contact with the neo-Nazi scene.” Heinz-Christian Strache is the leader of the FPÖ.

‘Iraq war refugee falsely accused of sexual abuse in Belgium’


This video says about itself:

Fleeing ISIS In Iraq: Refugees Tell Of Loss And Tragedy

16 June 2014

Refugees from Mosul have told Sky News of the terror they experienced at the hands of ISIS militants.

Middle East correspondent Sherine Tadros reports from a newly-built refugee camp in the northern area of Dohuk.

Translated from daily De Morgen in Belgium:

Swimming incident in Koksijde: “An error of judgment”

No swimming ban for asylum seekers in Koksijde

25-01-2016, 15.38u

The asylum seeker who was suspected of sexually assaulting a girl in the swimming pool of Koksijde is probably innocent. According to the public prosecutor of Furnes, the Iraqi man in this twenties this Saturday afternoon already was released after questioning. The aldermen in Koksijde have decided that there will be no swimming ban for asylum seekers.

That the young man was not brought before the investigating judge shows hat the prosecutor does not think this is a case of serious crime, such as an assault.

According to sources close to the dossier everything points to “an error in judgment.” The 22-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker, according to witnesses was trying to save a girl who panicked in the whitewater of the pool complex. The supervisor then called the police, after which the refugee was taken in for questioning. The 10-year-old girl (and her parents) have not complained. …

After the incident the mayor of Koksijde, Marc Vanden Bussche (Open VLD) [right wing pro Big Business party], decided to introduce a ban for asylum seekers in the pool. That was immediately criticized strongly.

If one Roman Catholic clergyman abuses a child sexually, then, correctly, no one talks about banning swimming for all clergy, or for all male Roman Catholics. For refugees from the bloody Iraq war, the same should apply.

See also here about the Koksijde swimming pol.