July 5th, 2007


Disguised as a woman: who's brave?

I was amused to see that a radical Muslim cleric in a siege in Islamabad was convincing followers to stand fast, then sneaking out the back disguised in a burqa. Not very well; he was taller, he had a pot belly and he didn't walk like the other girls (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/6270626.stm). But will he get more flak for trying it than for doing it badly? Remember one of those worrying Turkish prosecutions of writers, where a reader was so horrified at the thought that Ataturk could have dressed as hi wife to escape an assassination attempt that he denied it could have happened and had the biographer of Ataturk's wife charged with attacking Turkishness? The writer was acquitted - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6192869.stm - but does that mean that in the middle east dressing up as a woman to escape danger is a sign of cowardice? What does that do the standing of radical clerics in that worldview?