Why France's Burkini Ban Is Absolutely Senseless

Why France's Burkini Ban Is Absolutely Senseless

This is what happens when fear mongering rises to a whole new level in Cannes, France.
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Just when you thought France couldn't get any more Islamophobic than it already is, the mayor of Cannes decided to ban women from wearing burkinis – full-body swimsuits – on beaches.

Why, you ask?

Because Mayor David Lisnard believes a burkini is "the symbol of Islamist extremism". He cites France's secular laws and the recent terror attack in Nice, France in order to support his ordinance.

"Beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order," his policy states.

But what about other religious symbols, like the Jewish kippah or Christian cross?

Not included, because apparently, to the mayor, every other religious symbol is totally fineanything but this Islamic garment. So if you want to keep it "modest" at the beach ladies, looks like the only option left is to wear a headscarf with that bikini. Any woman caught wearing a burkini will be fined 38 euros if she does not leave the beach or change into another outfit.

"Not a day goes by without the target of Muslims, especially Muslim women in France," Yasser Louati, a human rights and civil liberties activist, told Al Jazeera.

"There is a feeling now that France is at war with its own citizens. Today they are Muslims, and yesterday they were Jews," said Louati. "French elites cannot live in peace with minorities."

Understandably enough, anti-racism organizations and human rights activists all over France are outraged over the discriminatory city ordinance. The Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CAIF) said it's filing a lawsuit challenging the legality of the Cannes's ordinance. The CAIF urges tolerance in communities, noting that a third of the 85 victims of the terror attack in Nice, France were Muslim. The League of Human Rights also issued a statement that it would challenge the ban in court.

Even the French media is questioning the legality of the burkini ban. The French newspaper Liberation accuses the ban of being exclusively political while another French newspaper, Le Monde, disputes the ordinance on legal grounds: "The law on the full-face veil only bans covering the face in public...The burkini, which covers the body but does not hide the face, is thus a totally legal garment."

And considering that a burkini is not much different than a wetsuit, the ban raises several questions about what "suitable beachwear" even implies.

Moreover, how does a burkini symbolize a link to any terrorist group, let alone ISIS? Does Mayor Lisnard think the women of ISIS flock around beaches to lounge "ostentatiously" in their burkinis? Or is this ban meant to eliminate the threat of ISIS swooping in on Cannes beaches to recruit a couple of burkini babes, as if the garment is some sort of advertisement for terrorism?

As Judge Marie said on France TV Info's legal blog, "The basic freedom to come and go dressed as you please seems to me to be infringed in a way that is disproportionate to this risk."

As tensions continue to rise in France, critics argue that the religious divide has only deepened due to the ban of yet another Muslim garment.

"Yet again it's ordinary Muslims who pay for the actions of terrorists even though they had nothing to do with it," Feiza Ben Mohamed, the spokeswoman for the Southern Federation of Muslims told The Local. "They [ISIS] are trying to recruit young people in France and they will be saying to them, ‘look, France stigmatizes Muslims; look, France won’t let you wear the veil’."

“At a time when politicians should be doing everything to avoid tension between communities, they have done exactly the opposite,” she added.

Cover Image Credit: NPR

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Diplomacy and Revolution

Creating A Federation With The Nation’s 19,505 Cities, Towns, and Villages, And Dissolving The 50 States Of The Union; Will Prevent The United States Of America From Balkanizing As Its Empire Declines.
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As it has become undeniable under the current administration of Donald Trump, the United States has entered its imperial decline as a global hegemonic force. The economic stability of the US dollar as a global currency is wavering and the military apparatus that spans the globe is starting to grind under its own contradictions as an occupying force. As these contradictions start to buckle under their own weight, the economic collapse and military retraction in the United States hegemony is an undeniable calculation. As this economic collapse occurs, the need to reorient economic priorities will be an imperative. As our global military network and apparatus starts to evolve and retract as an occupying force, it will require a new examination of what it means to provide the security of persons in the 21st-century. These questions will be placed in needed context, as external forces press the rapid advancement of these changes; as well as domestic forces trying to acclimate to this rapid transition. As we saw in the past with the Articles of Confederation in the late 18th century, the priorities of the states and their self interests and loyalty to wealth and power place the Federal Union of the United States under threat of internal instability and external pressures that will lead to an inevitable crisis unseen in the United States since the days of the Civil War. To avoid these destabilizing factors, the wise attempt to reconstruct the Federal structure of the United States must be applied.

To do this, we must recognize that our democracy is rooted in the diplomacy between various republics; forming the federation that established the Union of the United States of America under the pretext of the Constitution. Diplomacy must be re-oriented on the municipal level to deal with the shifts of modern communication and transportation advancement; so as to avoid Balkanization. We must keep in mind that Federalism, a federation, is a structure that offers the means of ensuring a formalized diplomatic structure between communities. The Iroquois Confederacy in which the United States Union was based off of focused on representation via tribes; this localized format must be present in any transitional new system. Coupled with a format of modern technological development, a federation of municipalities is perfectly plausible for the various communities throughout the entire United States thanks to current communication and transportation systems; with evolving transportation and communication systems increasing the feasibility and ease of such a networked systems.

We have (as of 2015 data) 19,505 cities, towns, and villages in the United States. As the American empire declines, the calculation that economic divisions will spark a disunity internally must be avoided at all cost via re-federalizing. It is perfectly plausible to create a federation out of the 19,505 communities using representation of each in a federal congress. We have sports stadiums that can house tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of spectators; it would be perfectly plausible create a federal congress using such scales of construction. It would also ensure management of sub regional, regional, and super-regional networks that are internal mechanisms used for unifying local and federal systems. Not only will this new federal system prevent Balkanization and disunity of the American people, it will also offer the potentiality for economic reconstruction with the emphasis on self sustainability and self-sufficiency for every community. Utilizing social contracts such as a Second Bill of Rights to provide things such as food, water, energy, infrastructure, knowledge, and productive abilities for every community and every individuals. Living up to the motto of the United States E Pluribus Unum: Out of Many, One; as well as ensuring life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness in the 21st-century.

Our present is not the first time that the United States has risked division, as already mentioned the Articles of Confederation brought us to the edge of a complete breakdown of the Union, which was operating as only a mere confederation at the time. The slave master rebellion of 1861 that ignited what became known as the Civil War brought the United States further to the precipice of disunity. But as the Union has shown to withstand not only internal strife and division brought on by economic stratification, we have developed a federal system that has expanded its influence around the globe. As we wise up to the foolishness of attempting to assert hegemony over the peoples of the world; we will start to recognize that the survivability of our own systems will rely on a new unifying effort. One that will require nothing less than the declaration of a new Federation of the Peoples of America; guaranteed under the Declaration of Independence and Constitution that set forth to lay the foundations of the United States today. With the same mentality of transition between the Articles of Confederation to the Federal Constitution, and with the pretext of legal declaration such as the Emancipation Proclamation; we can avoid repeating the same mistakes in the past through federalizing anew. And through a new Federation, finally creating the principles and ideals that we laid out in our past but have yet to live up to in the present; by becoming at true Union of Peoples.

Cover Image Credit: Shutterstock

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The Importance Of Empathy

How just meeting new people can make all the difference in your life
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Merriam Webster Dictionary describes “empathy” as, “The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.”

During such a time with increasing social, political, and societal divide, a better comprehension of empathy would do wonders to lessen this divide.

Attaining a better sense of empathy allows for one to build upon their perspective and have a better understanding of the people around them. While it may sound too cliche or rudimentary, the best way to build a strong sense of empathy is to explore new things and new people.

In high school I was involved with football, the TV show, the art department, the drama department, the spirit club, etc.. In the fall I attended community college, and now I attend the University of Southern California. I have been able to surround myself with people of different passions, socio-economic backgrounds, and perspectives. All of which makes up a lot of who I am today.

Then while I may have my own preconceived opinions and views, I have fostered some ability to understand the point of views and thought processes of the people around me. Whether it be an privileged high school athlete, or a low-income community college art student, I have been able to interact with people across the spectrum of perspectives.

Surrounding myself with such a variety of people shapes who I am and builds me a stronger sense of self. Then while all these people I have interacted may not be my best friends, nor may I even get along with them all, I at least know where they are coming from and look at them with more than one lens of thought.

From the high school students trying to do something new and build their resume, to the successful college student who just wants to meet some more people outside of their hometown, I cannot stress enough how much getting outside of one’s comfort zone and getting to know people you may have never even spoken to before.

Just by surrounding oneself with a variety of passionate and well-intentioned people, a strong sense of empathy can be fostered. With racial and socio-economic tensions flaring consistently, society would greatly benefit if people just grew better understandings of one another. Once everyone beings to appreciate and value all the different perspectives and point of views that make up this world, a lot could change for the better.

Cover Image Credit: Alexis Brown

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