Friday, October 8, 2010

Musings ...

A group of Turkish women, wearing different co...Image via WikipediaThis is probably the closest I'll ever come to writing about politics, so bear with me.

The other day, after taking my nanny, who happens to wear a headscarf, to an informal afternoon school function, she asked me whether I thought she'd made anyone uncomfortable with her headscarf. Her question was beside the point, as I realized that she herself had been uncomfortable as the only covered woman.

The irony wasn't lost on me -- walking around Istanbul in my t-shirt and jeans and my long hair blowing in the wind, I often feel slightly uneasy, as if I'm being judged by the covered women I see around me. Am I just imagining scowls of disapproval? In my mind, they're holding their breath for the day when all women in Turkey will by law be required to hide their hair under headscarves and cover their arms and legs.

The reasonable part of my brain tells me that's not at all how they feel; indeed, the covered women I've met have only ever been warm and friendly towards me. Yet I suspect this divide, based primarily on misunderstanding and lack of communication, exists not just in my mind, but in the minds of others as well.

I wonder if the two 'sides' spoke openly, whether we'd be able to trump any higher powers that might be pitting us against each other?
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