A Guide for Islamists. How to Covertly Indulge Your Interest in Women's Fashion
So you're the leader of a country at war, a country that is also one of the poorest in the world, in need of everything from schools to roads to health clinics and vaccines. You're facing a vicious, hate-filled insurgency premised on radical Islam, and a citizenry increasingly disatisfied with your governance and with the pervasive corruption imploding at every turn in your government. What's the first thing you do when you show up to work in the morning?
Why, follow up on the request of some disgruntled, illiterate tribal elders who are in a tithy because they saw some womens' hair. Duh!
As the BBC reports, it wasn't the fact that the volatile and highly conservative province of Helmand managed to have a large, joyous cultural celebration featuring female performers, something that might be considered a small revolution not to mention much-needed relief from the insurgency's wreaking havoc there, that drew the attention of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Nor was it a concern about the competency or merit of the besieged province's deputy governor. It was, rather, some fussing old men and their paranoid, misogynous views about where women rightfully belong (under the shrouded cover of a burqa):
The deputy governor of Helmand province has been sacked for organising a concert that featured female performers without headscarves.
Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai took the action against Abdul Satar Mirzakwal after tribal elders complained that it was inappropriate.
The concert attracted about 12,000 people and was hailed as a success by local authorities.
Helmand is one of Afghanistan's most volatile provinces.
Correspondents say that simply staging the concert in Helmand was a sign of the extent to which security has improved in the province after a sustained coalition offensive against Taliban militants in the area.
Aspiring head-of-states do note: concentrating on how women dress will help distract you from the real problems that plague your government and seem to be mounting into an overwhelming to-do list. It will give you a sense of control that will make you smile, while giving a comforting sense that you're being decisive and making a difference to your people. Who needs all that stress anyway!
Afterall, there are few things more pressing to a nation's future than how its women dress.
Just ask the Pakistani cleric, Mufti Sahab, who is really upset about Pakistani actress Veena Malik appearing on an Indian reality television show: watch his exchange with the actress here.
Like Karzai, Pakistani religious leaders also have a number of pressing issues facing their country. And they too have opted for that time-tested strategy of just letting it all work itself out while they fuss over women's dress instead, a point that the courageous Veena Malik captures beautifully:
There are many things to talk about. Why Veena Malik? Because Veena Malik is a woman? Because Veena Malik is a soft target for you? What has Veena Malik done? Did Veena Malik lip-lock? Did Veena Malik wear shorter clothes than what Pakistan actresses in India wore in the past? Why Veena Malik, Mufti Sahab? There are many other things for you to deal with. There are Islamic clerics who rape the children they teach in their mosques, and so much more. Pakistan is infamous for many reasons other than Veena Malik.
But one has to have priorities.
Lauryn Oates is a Contributing Writer to The Propagandist.