Every several weeks for the past three years or so, the Dutch goverment or a right wing politician has proclaimed the need to ban burkas in the Netherlands.
An estimated 150 women wear them in this country of 16 million.
Anyhow, a side-plot to all this is the debate over the "burkini," which is basically a full body swimsuit.
"Muslim woman Liselotte Buitelaar was evicted from the 'Hanzebad' swimming pool in Zwolle Thursday. She had been swimming for five minutes with her 2 year old son Ilias when the 'bathmasters' came to tell her that there were complaints about her burkini."
Aside number one: Ilias is an awesome name.
Aside number two: this is EXACTLY what used to be worn by 'western' women to beaches about 100 years ago.
Anyhow, I don't care if people wear gorilla suits in the pool, and it stuns me that people in Zwolle would feel any different. What if this were just a wetsuit? A lot of my friends in California used to wear them when practicing crazy dives into the swimming pool, because apparently it took away some of the sting of belly flopping.
More recently, top competitive swimmers like the Netherlands' own Pieter van den Hoogenband are wearing suits that are not that different.
(VDH nemesis Thorpe)
"Our regular customers found it objectionable," said pool director Hans Meijer. "We have to hold reckoning with that."
Aside one: Should I capitalize "Pool Director?"
Aside two: Is it legal to discriminate on this basis?
Similar cases where restaurant owners tried to ban women with headscarves were blown out of the water.
At least opponents of the burka have rational arguments against it; without going into the merits, those opposed said that it was a risk to public safety to have people whose faces could not be seen riding on public transport.
And the burka was a "symbmol of oppression." But one suspects the opponents really aren't that worried about the plight of Muslim women.
In any case, the burkini was an opportunity for religious Muslims to engage in a part of everyday Dutch life.
But no, management stepped in to block it.
Why? Customers found it "Objectionable" (Dutch: aanstootgevend).
Give me a break.
Meanwhile, 1 million Dutch _ that's out of 16 million men, women and children in the country _ watched Deep Throat, the movie, on Saturday.
Beaches are topless by default, and nude beaches are almost as common.
Whose morals are more funky here, Muslims who want to cover up or Dutch who want to take it off?
And more importantly, what ever happened to the good old Dutch attitude of 'don't bother me and I won't bother you."?