Saturday, October 14, 2006

For the sake of completeness

Click on the video link below the photo on the BBC website and listen to the full four-minute interview:

25 comments:

  1. hollowentry6:09 PM

    Despicable interview. What a beligerent condescending interrogation. and at the same time the interviewer speaks for all 'society' that the veil is alienating... It's perfectly assumed that what some Muslim women choose to wear puts them outside society.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Funny you should say that. I'm fairly certain that the person who posted this interview agrees with the interrogator.

    ReplyDelete
  3. warszawa3:57 AM

    No, I think it was fine for her to deceive her way into a job, and then to cover her ears, eyebrows and mouth while 'teaching' children who are trying to deal with English as a second language. After all, one of those kids might have felt lust. Not to mention the fully-grown people she has to work with.

    A prize to anyone who could understand every word she said.

    And a prize (a depleted uranium suppository)to New Labour's warmongers for so successfully manipulating the left into defending the indefensible while they get on with their global War on Muslims.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This episode of Invasion Of The Veils strikes me as a fishy.

    surely this veil can't be the worst or most 'newsworthy' thing going on at a church or england school.

    it takes up space in the news which would otherwise have to load adjectives on the number six hundred fifty five thousand.

    'crime against humanity', spoken through a veil, with or without a furrin accent, is better than any newsreader's more audible articulation of anything else.

    ReplyDelete
  5. the question is less whether it is okay for her to have gone to the interview with a naked face, or whether it is reasonable for the empliyer to ask her to teach the kids without the veil, as what the hell is this doing on the BBC? It's expropriating, enclosing, packaging, and re-selling to the public as branded thought-products a massive crime against humanity.

    ReplyDelete
  6. she is chosen for the battering because she is clearly a shy person, being asked to defend her sartorial choice politically when it probably isn't one hundred percent political, and her case, which must be all but unique, is being offered as a poster case.

    What if a lancome lipstick model refuses to remove her veil? What then? Huh huh? Can she be fired or not?

    Six hundred fifty five thousand has released a fullscale Invasion Of The Anecdotes.

    ReplyDelete
  7. because it is in the anecdotal style that the imperialist apology always works and now that has to seem to be the only possible mode of thought, all else is illegitimate. (as that Geras post linked at Lenin exemplifies.)

    ReplyDelete
  8. warszawa9:58 AM

    Oh it's a nasty and very crafty piece of New Labour news-spinning, no doubt about it. An efficiently-crafted distraction from the 655,000 Muslim dead of Iraq - just as the Foley Follies in the US are an efficiently-crafted distraction from the clear and urgent forewarnings extended to Rumsfeld, Ashcroft and Rice, and from Zelikow's cover-up to the Commission. (I'm fairly certain that Lenin has no real objection to those forewarnings, those lies and that cover-up, because he has so far had not a single word to say about it.)

    This still doesn't alter the fact that the niqab and the burqa are significant barriers to communication. (That is, after all, the whole point of them.) Especially for a teaching assistant dealing with children who are trying to learn a second language, and especially for the kids so taught, and especially when she herself clearly struggles with that language ("imidated"?), and especially when the "veil" in question completely covers her ears, her eyebrows and her mouth. The children apparently said they had difficulty understanding her (who wouldn't?); but, as ever, the near-universal consensus is that children can safely be ignored.

    There is a context to this post:

    http://www.haloscan.com/comments/lenin/116091061305170491/#349028

    ReplyDelete
  9. hollowentry10:41 AM

    chabert, great points, I agree about the spectacular nature of this ready-made debate. I'ts a constant feed of abstraction, using the unique or fictional examples, so that white m-c folks can announce their public position, which is actually just regurgitated propaganda. eg: the 'debate' on should torture be allowed (what the hell!) is often framed using the sci-fi image of some prisoner knowing a bomb was going to go off in one hour somewhere in the city etc... Is this 'debate' useful in any way in understanding why this is even a topic to begin with?


    "A prize to anyone who could understand every word she said."

    w, there were a number of times during that interview I couldn't see the interviewer as he spoke, the camera was over his shoulder. This wasn't an impediment.

    I think the idea that she is difficult to understand suggests something else at work.

    I'm wondering about class here. As far as not understanding Aishah Azmi, isn't this at least partly about her accent as a teacher--if she spoke in the bbc television dude's supposedly 'erudite' way--

    mea culpa: I can barely understand any of you all speaking those European englisheses.

    the BBC constantly has voice overs on the news--how come these are understood but Azmi wasn't?

    ReplyDelete
  10. warszawa11:08 AM

    "the BBC constantly has voice overs on the news--how come these are understood but Azmi wasn't?"

    Because the voice-overs are spoken carefully and distinctly into state-of-the-art microphones by trained specialists in verbal communication

    Also: presumably none of the people giving those voice-overs have cloth covering their mouths and ears. In any case, they are addressing (through mics that can pick up the tiniest modulation) an audience composed mainly of adults and native or fluent English speakers.

    ReplyDelete
  11. well, the kids complained, okay, and they school asked her to remove it when teaching, and she did. if there is a story here, it's for gossip in the teacher's lounge. it's hardly a national crisis. this is playing on BBC WORLD!

    it's bullshit, frankly. a non problem. everyone loves eric liddle and sandy koufax; what kind of athlete won't compete on the sabbath? the world series for fuck's sake - yo're a pitcher, pitch! or quit the game! but we love it, revere it, men for all seasons. this story is just concocted hate and fear mongering. she may not be a good teacher; so what, she's not the only one; bad teachers are not news. Muslims are not the people who have to be perfect all the time or make the news and have laws passed to protect children from their imperfectness.

    and the sound was assuredly deliberately bad since there is no reason, her mic would be clothes mounted and under her veil.

    ReplyDelete
  12. i mean if she was whacking children with rulers, that could be news.

    THE NEW MUSLIM MENACE: MUMBLING IN AN ACCENT.

    Unknown heretofore in Britain.

    Oh no. An Inaudibility Crisis. Last straw. I have had it up to HERE with these people! First bombs, now mumbling! They want to be heard and they mumble through four ply cotton! where will it stop?

    ReplyDelete
  13. warszawa5:56 AM

    "it takes up space in the news which would otherwise have to load adjectives on the number six hundred fifty five thousand."

    Precisely as I said. It was very craftily chosen, this one, because the New Labour spin-doctors rightly calculated that most of the left - currently fighting a rearguard action against real and serious anti-Muslim racism - would insist on painting Aishah Azmi as an utterly blameless victim. So then you get absurd foaming-at-the-mouth assertions at Lenin's Tomb and elsewhere that covering one's ears, eyebrows and mouth with cloth is no hindrance at all to communication in a second language. Which is clearly not true, and which helps nobody at all except the New Labour spin-doctors.

    People are suspended all the time from teaching-jobs. My brother is a headmaster and has suspended a few in his time, none of them Muslims. For instance, quite recently: an alcoholic ("actually a very good teacher") who turned up under the influence. He didn't like suspending the guy, but as he said: 'What am I supposed to do if he insists on making himself incapable of doing the job properly? It's just not fair to the kids.'

    A woman's right to choose the burqa or the niqab? Fine. But let's not pretend that those garments don't significantly hinder her ability to work as a lifeguard, a politician or a schoolteacher. Just for instance. Such pretences help nobody.

    ReplyDelete
  14. but this woman, veil or no veil, is the blameless victim, day in, day out, of antiMuslim racism. That she actually is a Muslim is not evidence that she shares the blame.

    spectators of television aren't in any position to opine about the appropriateness of her actual attire for work; we don't really know what happened there, and how often she wore this veil with the kids; it's just ridiculous that her fitness as a teacher should become a public debate. If her veil really does hamper her ability to teach, it does not do so egregiously and there is remedy. The transformation of this into The Anecdote and her abuse by the prosecutorial interviewer is inexcuseable and indeed racist; she is not "to blame" for the racism she lives with and which transforms this small insignificant dispute about how she's doing her job, a dispute easily managed in our society by her, her employers and their lawuyers, without New Laws and Statutes, Sumptuary Laws, Uniforms, without teevee audience voting like big brother to kick her out of the house, based only on the information offered by biased and unscrupulous media outfits...

    she's being turned into a troublemaker just because of that veil she wore. Maybe it's unreasonable;, maybe it's not; if it is it doesn't make her a troublemaker, just maybe not being so reasonable from the point of ve of satisfying her employers (not necessarily the right allegiance in any case of a working person laying down conditions for her exploitation). Now she is a poster case designed to suggest that antiMuslim racism is based in rational rejection of objectively bad practises. It's a made up thing, a manipulation...she's not hurting kids, even if she could be a better teacher - she might despite this be better than plenty whose communication skills are hamered by bad tempers; racism; sexism, accents, cruetly, egotism - she's not hurting them just because she has a veil and maybe could be serving them better without it. Its not exactly a scandalous thing to do to kids in this context; it might even encourage some good stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  15. warszaa4:34 PM

    Internet user admits 'web-rage'

    Air cargo security gaps exposed

    UK 'must act' on plane emissions

    UK wildlife crime centre to open

    PM backs veil-teacher suspension

    WAGs to get own reality TV show

    ALSO IN THE NEWS

    Man fined £200 for putting wrong rubbish in recycling bag

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/default.stm

    ReplyDelete
  16. warszawa4:48 PM

    I mean: many things are in the news, every day, and are either worth commenting or worth ignoring. I did not introduce this topic into the news, and much less into the left blogosphere. Once it's there - and it was very much there - then comment is permissible. My comment is that it is not admirable to lie your way into a job and then insist on maintaining a cloth wall between you and the children you are purporting to teach, or between you and your colleagues, through fear of being lusted after.

    Meanwhile, there's a murderous global War on, and there has been for the last five years, and it's based on a plain lie, and I am on the verge of being banned from Lenin's Tomb for pointing that out, while he defends a woman's inalienable right to mumble through cloth at children who don't have a choice about anything.

    ReplyDelete
  17. So how did she lie her way into a job? Did they ask if she'd be wearing a veil on the job? When she was hired, did the school have a dress code forbidding the wearing of veils? Any of these arguments that are supposedly "for the sake of the children" are simply rubbish because she has stated that she has no problem taking off the veil in front of the children she's teaching; She simply desires to wear it in the presence of her male colleagues. Is there some reason why they need to see her face?

    You are also wrong about the purpose of the veil, warszawa. It's purpose is not to hinder communication. In fact it does the opposite. By wearing the veil, women who do not want to be gawked at, can interact more fully with society. Your argument is faulty because it's based on the idea that she's wearing the veil out of fear that others "might have felt lust" is she didn't wear it. Did she say that or are you just making an assertion based on your own assumptions? Just like plenty of non-Muslim women don't base their decisions about what to wear based on what every man in the world may think, so do many Muslim women. Personally, I wouldn't wear a lot of outfits that I see on non-Muslim women. Does that mean that they should only be allowed to choose their own attire when these choices coincide with my preferred style of dress?

    The problem is that many people are simply lazy and prefer to discriminate against people instead of making a commitment to true equality. They don't want to have to judge what a woman says based on the merits of her ideas. Instead, they'd rather draw conclusions about women based on immaterial factors like whether they like your hairstyle, whether they think you wear too much or too little make-up, whether they find you too fat or too skinny, whether your teeth are straightened and whitened enough.

    If other women want to deal with all of these factors being at work whenever they dare to show themselves in public, then that's just fine with me. However, it's just absurd to claim that a woman is doing something improper if she chooses to opt out of all this.

    And if "maintaining a cloth wall between you and the children you are purporting to teach" is such a problem, then why don't we demand that teachers go to work in the nude? After all, blouses and skirts and bras and panties also "maintain a cloth wall" between teachers and their colleagues and students. And heaven forbid we allow anyone to wear socks. I know people who have never taken off their footwear in front of me. Should I be offended?

    This is an utterly ridiculous story and it only shows how much unabashed bigotry there truly is in Britain.

    ReplyDelete
  18. through fear of being lusted after

    that's a horribly narrow, westernized view projected onto the veil.

    of course this isn't an issue in muslim communities. it's a western creation. relying on half-baked communication theory & supposed concern for the helpless disabled is simply disgusting in this instance.

    ReplyDelete
  19. warszawa6:20 AM

    bint alshamshah:"Instead, they'd rather draw conclusions about women based on immaterial factors like whether they like your hairstyle, whether they think you wear too much or too little make-up, whether they find you too fat or too skinny, whether your teeth are straightened and whitened enough."

    Much the same applies to men too, of course. I remember male teachers nicknamed "Noddy", "Baldy", "Frankenstein", "Beanpole", "The Gonk", "Pansy Potter" (because he was judged to be effeminate) and "AberChrome-Dome" (another teacher of the hairless variety, whose real name was Abercrombie). It's called being in the world. People can sometimes be cruel and unfair.

    "And heaven forbid we allow anyone to wear socks. I know people who have never taken off their footwear in front of me. Should I be offended?"

    No, there are good practical reasons for wearing shoes and socks. In any case, almost every culture in human history has featured some kind of clothing, but every few of them have insisted on wearing masks. There are essential differences between the head and the feet that hardly need to be stressed, not least the fact that the mouth, eyes and ears are located on the head rather than on the feet.

    Voices, of course, can also be used to judge people, fairly or unfairly. I remember another teacher known as Mickey Mouse. Extend the principle to voices as well as faces, and a teacher has the right not to be heard either.

    ReplyDelete
  20. warszawa6:26 AM

    arcturus: "through fear of being lusted after" -- that's a horribly narrow, westernized view projected onto the veil.

    Excuse my shorthand. What's the real reason, then?

    "half-baked communication theory "

    A fully-baked communication theory would presumably demonstrate that concealed mouths, eyes and ears are no hindrance at all to communication, especially in a second language. Please suppply links to that theory.

    "& supposed concern for the helpless disabled is simply disgusting in this instance. "

    I don't know what 'helpless disabled' you are referring to. I do have some concern for the mainly-immigrant children who are presumably either racist or misogynist (in your books) if they feel they're losing out by being taught by a masked schoolteacher.

    ReplyDelete
  21. A fully-baked communication theory would presumably demonstrate that concealed mouths, eyes and ears are no hindrance at all to communication, especially in a second language

    I take it you find language-learning tapes equally threatening?

    as to the burqa, there's a host of information available to you. I'm not here to do yr education & research - & b'sides, with my concealed eyes, ears, & mouth, communication w/ you in this medium is clearly, by yr standards, impossible . . .

    ReplyDelete
  22. warszawa1:46 AM

    " & b'sides, with my concealed eyes, ears, & mouth, communication w/ you in this medium is clearly, by yr standards, impossible . . ."

    No, but it would be less irr'tating 'f y/ didn't intr'duce po'intless abbr'viations that don't make words any sh'rter or easier t/ underst'nd.

    "I take it you find language-learning tapes equally threatening?"

    No, I just find them much less useful for learning languages than actual face-to-face communication with real human beings. So call me eccentric, or ecc'ntr'c.

    ReplyDelete
  23. warszawa:

    It's called being in the world. People can sometimes be cruel and unfair.

    Sure, this is true. However, there is no reason why we must give people more information about us than they are entitled to. There is no more reason why you should let me see your ears than there is for you to let me see your nipples or your perineum. If you decide that there is some part of your body that you'd rather people weren't able to gaze upon directly whenever they wanted to, then I see nothing wrong with that.

    No, there are good practical reasons for wearing shoes and socks. In any case, almost every culture in human history has featured some kind of clothing, but every few of them have insisted on wearing masks.

    There are many practical reasons not to wear socks or shoes as well. Furthermore, you are still quite wrong. Many, many cultures (in the past and the present) employ face coverings. There are myriad reasons why it can be quite useful and practical.

    There are essential differences between the head and the feet that hardly need to be stressed, not least the fact that the mouth, eyes and ears are located on the head rather than on the feet.

    There are differences between the head and the feet, to be sure, but that does not mean that you are any more entitled to see one than the other. You may want to see someone's face but that doesn't mean they should have to show it to you.

    Voices, of course, can also be used to judge people, fairly or unfairly.

    It doesn't matter what can be used to judge people unfairly. What this is about is whether or not someone should have to show you a particular part of their body. A voice is not a body part. Her colleagues do not need to be able to see her ears and nose and mouth for her to do her job well.

    No, I just find them much less useful for learning languages than actual face-to-face communication with real human beings. So call me eccentric, or ecc'ntr'c.

    Then you are the one with the problem. Plenty of people have no problem learning languages without needing "face-to-face communication with real human beings". Besides, since this isn't even about what she looks like while she's with her students, even if they were all like you, her veiling wouldn't affect her ability to teach them a particular language.

    Of course, if what you're really seeking is to make everyone conform to what makes you comfortable, then it won't matter that she's able to do her job well without abandoning her clothing preferences or violating the school's dress code.

    ReplyDelete
  24. warszawa8:06 AM

    bint alshamshah writes: "If you decide that there is some part of your body that you'd rather people weren't able to gaze upon directly whenever they wanted to, then I see nothing wrong with that."

    But if you wanted to learn a foreign language, and if I were a language teacher who insisted on wearing a full-face mask leaving only a slit for the eyes, then I would not be your first choice for the job, right? But unlike Ms. Azmi's colleagues - and especially the children she's placed in charge of - you do have a choice.

    In the same way, you have a perfect right not to expose your hands in anyone's presence. But it would be a bit silly to complain that no one wanted to employ you as a masseur.

    "There are many practical reasons not to wear socks or shoes as well. "

    Yup. Sometimes we put them on, sometimes we take them off. It depends on the practicalities, and on consideration for other people. But some people just have no consideration for others.

    "Furthermore, you are still quite wrong. Many, many cultures (in the past and the present) employ face coverings."

    Do they employ them all the time? Could you list some of those cultures? Just two or three, for a start.

    "There are myriad reasons why it can be quite useful and practical."

    Oh, I've used masks too, as has nearly everyone. For instance, when working with metalcutting blowtorches, or when visiting someone in a hospital. No one is denying that masks are sometimes useful and practical. What is the practical use of the mask in the case of Ms. Azmi in that school, though?

    "Then you are the one with the problem. Plenty of people have no problem learning languages without needing "face-to-face communication with real human beings". "

    I didn't actually say I needed it; I said it was much more helpful. "Plenty of people"? I've never known anyone who learned a language properly just off a tape. In any case, a teacher is not employed to be a tape-recorder. Otherwise, schools could just employ tape-recorders, much more cheaply, and force the kids to listen to them all day. Children have very little choice about what's done to them five days a week for years in the name of teaching.

    "Of course, if what you're really seeking is to make everyone conform to what makes you comfortable, "

    It has nothing to do with my personal comfort. I am not forced into Aishah Azmi's masked presence five days a week.

    And this is the crux of it:

    1. A teacher is in a position of power, five days a week for months or years, over people who have no choice whatsoever about whether they want to be in her presence or not.

    2. One person wearing a mask introduces an additional heavy power-imbalance: She can see the others, who cannot see her. Now, if she chooses to walk about the street or live in her own home like that, then it's her business; no passer-by is forced to put up with for long if he or she doesn't like it. By contrast: Children in a school and colleagues in a staffroom or classroom are in a very, very, very different position.

    ReplyDelete
  25. warszawa8:14 AM

    "Of course, if what you're really seeking is to make everyone conform to what makes you comfortable,"

    That is exactly what Aishah Azmi is attempting to do.

    ReplyDelete