Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 23, 2006

Veil still a symbol of female resistance

Apparently British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the leader of the House of Commons, Jack Straw, are in an all-out war to reform the dressing habits of Muslim women ("Blair calls Islamic head scarves `mark of separation' in Britain," Oct. 18).

Mr. Straw, in nothing short of an act of idiocy, has decreed that Muslim women, as a prerequisite to visiting his office, should remove their veils.

The noble purpose of this brouhaha is supposed to be the integration of Muslim women into British society.

But what next? Should all Indian women stop wearing saris in Britain as a sign that they are properly integrated?

And isn't it interesting that the liberal Labor Party is lobbing the essence of Western chauvinism at the Muslim women of Britain?

The veil is extremely threatening to Western men.

A veil can make a woman unapproachable, mystifying and even terrifying to men who live in societies where exhibitionism is the norm for female attire.

The hypocritical West asserts that the veil is a symbol of female subjugation and wants to see Muslim women unveiled. But even in the West, brides wear veils and grieving widows wore them during long periods of mourning in the not-so-distant past.

I am sure Muslim women are laughing behind their veils at the prejudices of the so-called freewheeling West.

The veil stumps male bravado in the workplace. It sets unspoken limits for how far a man can go with a woman.

It may be a symbol of female repression and humility in the Middle East. But in the West the veil is a powerful symbol of female resistance and emancipation.

It lets a woman observe the scoundrels of this world without being observed herself.

It can be a lovely fashion statement - feminine, graceful and modest.

It can titillate by virtue of what it hides.

All of these facets that define the Muslim veil can frustrate and confound Western men, who are no different from their Arab counterparts in their desire to control women.

Usha Nellore

Bel Air

Lifting steel tariffs could doom industry

It is mind-boggling to think that the auto industry has demanded the removal of the tariff that prevents foreign steel from being dumped in America ("Facing off on steel tariffs," Oct. 17).

If the International Trade Commission rules in the automakers' favor, we will see a repeat of what happened to Bethlehem Steel and other steel operations that ended up going bankrupt.

The greed for more profits by the automakers has to end - as does the importation of the foreign cars bought by so many Americans.

LeRoy R. McClelland

Essex

Death toll in Iraq will soon match 9/11

President Bush can now make an honest and accurate association between the war in Iraq and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks because, tragically, the number of dead American troops in the war in Iraq will soon equal the number of Americans killed on 9/11 ("U.S. war casualties make deadly surge," Oct. 19).

Edward J. Gutman

Baltimore

Dixon's leadership a boost for city

I'm glad to see that The Sun is finally covering what City Council President Sheila Dixon is doing to improve city life and focusing less on her role in some alleged, outdated incident ("Dixon makes plans for a transition," Oct. 15).

Ms. Dixon has served this city for almost 20 years, first in the 4th Council District and then citywide as our council president.

She is a product of Baltimore who has a commitment to this city, unlike others who come in from other jurisdictions with their own agendas.

I think this city will benefit greatly from the leadership we will receive from Ms. Dixon.

Not only could she be the first woman to hold the city's top office but she also could be our first black female mayor - something that is long overdue.

Hassan Giordano

Baltimore

Smoking ban offers a chance to lead

We at Smoke-Free Charm City, a coalition of organizations that includes 16 neighborhood associations and more than a dozen local businesses, were encouraged to read that City Council President Sheila Dixon included establishing smoke-free restaurants and bars on her list of issues to address as she prepares to become mayor ("Dixon makes plans for a transition," Oct. 15).

This issue gives Ms. Dixon the chance to be a hero. By leading the City Council in a vote to ban smoking in restaurants and bars, she could save the lives of more than 200 city residents who die because of exposure to secondhand smoke annually, according to MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society.

The Smoke-Free Charm City Coalition urges Ms. Dixon to seize the opportunity and champion the effort to make all workplaces, including restaurants and bars in Baltimore, smoke-free.

Johanna Neumann

Baltimore

The writer is a policy advocate for the Maryland Public Interest Research Group, which is a member of the Smoke-Free Charm City Coalition.

Bothered by smoke? Go somewhere else

I would suggest to those who object to being bothered by smoke during dinner at restaurants that they take their business elsewhere ("Tired of choking on smoke at dinner," letters, Oct. 19).

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