Friday, 10 January 2014

"Egypt in the Dentist's Chair"

This article, by Alaa Al Aswany, is an interesting insight into today's Egypt.  Clip:
On one occasion, a woman in a niqab came to see me. She was accompanied by her bearded husband, who looked me and my staff over as if we were potential kidnappers.
I asked the patient to take a seat in the chair. Her husband, who insisted on standing next to her, suddenly said: “If you need my wife to remove her niqab, then you can stay — but the others have to leave the room right now.”
“Those in the room are not here to look at your wife’s face,” I replied. “They are dental assistants and they are indispensable.
“Furthermore, if your wife turns out to have an exposed nerve, she will be treated by our specialist, who is a Christian.”
I uttered this last phrase with a dramatic flourish and then stepped back. The man grabbed his wife as if to leave, but to our surprise, she refused.
They exchanged whispers, which turned to shouting, and we understood that the poor woman was distressed by the fact that her husband’s extremist views were preventing her getting treatment.
This made me realize that many women we’d considered fundamentalists were simply prisoners of their husbands’ dogmatism.
I've written often on the veiling issue (burqa/niqab versions), along the lines that it's on no way a "freedom of choice" issue, still less a "sartorial choice".  It's either (a) an indication of the fundamentalism of the woman (especially so in the case of converts), or (b) at the instruction of the men in her life. The above quote supports (b).
Click on "Burka" in the Labels to see previous posts on the topic.