Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Beautiful Distraction

Sometimes you just have to admire politicians.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy stirred up a minor nest when he recently said that body- and face-covering Islamic garments such as the burqa turn women into prisoners and that the burqa would not be welcome in the country.

This is despite the fact that almost no one in France wears the burqa. President Sarkozy seems to be referring to the niqab which is more common in France. A burqa is a garment that covers the body fully with only a mesh screen over the eyes. A niqab is a full-body veil that has slits for the eyes. In France, the terms "burqa" and "niqab" often are used interchangeably.

Personally I’m not sure if a guy who can’t even tell the difference between the burqa and the niqab is in any position to talk about banning stuff but I think the real reason Sarkozy said what he did was the fact that he needed to distract the French people. Although France wasn’t as hard hit by the financial crisis sweeping the world, unemployment has hit a 2 year high in France. Also Sarkozy made his comments in his first “Presidential Address” to the French parliament. This is a break from tradition as the French President never addresses the French parliament personally. In protest against this break of tradition, a good number of the French parliament refused to attend the address.

However no one is talking about the missing members of parliament as everyone is talking about Sarkozy’s "divisive politics". As a distraction, it worked beautifully.

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