There is a lot of oppression in the world. So much. Constant airstrikes on civilians in Syria. The human sex trafficking industry is worth an estimated $32 billion dollars globally. Wealth inequality is increasing daily. Extreme poverty kills approximately 22,000 children each day. Drugs and the criminals that push them are continuing to wreak havoc from the Philippines, where there is currently a drug war, to the ghettos of America who still haven’t recovered from the crack epidemic. Like I said, a lot of oppression.
But through our darkest nights, at our most lowest points in the deepest crevices of the foulest chasms we still have hope in the French. In they ride chanting “Allons enfants de la Patrie, Le jour de gloire est arrivé! Contre nous de la tyrannie, L’étendard sanglant est levé” (Arise, children of the Fatherland, The day of glory has arrived! Against us tyranny’s Bloody banner is raised). To solve all the oppression in the world and to spread the candied glory of Liberté, égalité, fraternité. By banning the burkini in order to protect the wholesome goodness of secularism the French have solved, like, literally all the problems (although subsequently the ban has been overturned by the highest court in all the land – we’ll talk about that in a moment). I will now demonstrate to you how the burkini ban solves all the problems mentioned above.
There have been at the time of writing, according to AirWars, 14,676 coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. Those airstrikes have resulted in 1,584 civilian deaths. The Russians have, separately, killed 1,154 civilians. Hearing all this, many people would have curled up into a fetal position sobbing quietly into their croissant. But not the French. Never the French. They have figured out that if you take all the stretchy, waterproof material that would have otherwise been wasted on burkinis you can coat the entire civilian area of Syria with it. Stretched tight enough, the material becomes like a trampoline, bouncing the bombs away from civilians; effectively giving the Syrians a burkini-forcefield. But all the burkini material is needed – lycra is a rare and valuable resource. Vive le Francais!
Human trafficking is a truly global problem. It occurs everywhere. America has a multi-billion dollar human traffic industry. Globally, according to the UN (2012 data), victims of trafficking come from 152 different countries, the vast majority of those people will be sold in to sexual slavery or other forms of slavery. 33% of those victims are children. With those crushing figures many of us would lie in the middle of the road smushing gruyere cheese in to our mouths. The French have risen up that though and have single handedly solved this crisis. By making burkinis illegal, much like slavery, they have actually given the traffickers an alternative to human trafficking. Smuggling burkinis has none of the associated risks of trafficking humans. Burkinis can’t run away, they don’t need food or clothing, and they can be smuggled in greater number therefore increasing profit margins; because, economies of scale. Well played France.
About half the world live on less than $2.50 a day. Their poverty breeds disease because hygiene and clean water are luxuries that can only be afforded by middle class westerners or rich ‘third-worlders’. These diseases kill thousands and thousands every day. Their poverty traps them in further poverty. On hearing this, most of us would sit fully clothed under a running shower crying. Not knowing where our tears end and the water starts. Thank god for the French. Who have figured out that the burkini ban helps alleviate poverty. It’s pretty simple economics really. People will always want to go to the beach, therefore they need beach wear. If you make one universally acceptable form of beach ware (the bikini) then all these people in poverty can specialise in making it. Nike and others can then make factories exploiting the labour of these people, paying them $3.00 a day instead of $2.50. Huzzah!
I think the point is clear by now. The burkini ban is white-liberalism on steroids. It’s a perfect storm of ‘the white man’s burden’, French secularism and the white male fantasy of rescuing the poor little ethnic girl. And yes – it absolutely is white liberalism, not a fascist or right wing fringe. In brief, Fascism is characterized by its strong emphasis on an ultra-national culture and ultra-national superiority. Whereas the burkini ban, which must be understood in a wider atmosphere of Islamophobia, was driven by secularism and liberalism. Which is why it doesn’t matter that the ban has been reportedly repealed by the highest administrative court in France. It’s not the burkini that’s the problem, it’s the religion. The burkinis only crime is to be tenuously linked to Islam.
This is also why we have such a stark contradiction in the anti-oppression rhetoric and the state of oppression in the world. Putting aside international oppression, even at home, France has a terrible track record on women’s rights. According to INSEE, the French National Statistics bureau, the average wage gap between men and women in France in 2010 was 28%. Meaning, French women earn 28% less than their male counterparts for the same job. According to a separate report by the Social Institutions and Gender Index, when it comes to full time jobs, employers actively discriminate against hiring women. Lastly, every major French political party has been fined (in the millions) for gender discrimination, with the exception of the Green Party. This all ties in to the colonialist narrative, oppression under the guise of liberation and various ‘freedoms’.