Sarkozy, the French President attacked Burqa which is a religious symbol for the Muslim women and said that it was not acceptable in France. He is trying to enforce the western concepts of woman’s liberation on the other cultures. The western arrogance manifests itself when the westerners believe that their values are universal values. I have always wondered how Bush, a man who seems to have below average intelligence, can become President of the leading country of the World. However, Sarkozy becoming President of France is even a greater wonder.
Sarkozy was the only leader of a major European country who advocated boycotting the Beijing Olympics. When the Chinese wanted to punish France economically, he did not mind turning around and apologizing to China. Sarkozy has kept France on a roller coaster ride as far as relations with China are concerned. He takes a tough stand against China and then has no qualms about begging China’s forgiveness.
Sarkozy is an east European immigrant to France; therefore he probably does not know the French history very well. Burqa became a very important symbol of resistance to France in Algeria. The Algerian revolutionaries used Burqa as a rallying point for the struggle against the French colonialists and France was kicked out of Algeria. His reaction against Burqa can get France in trouble with many Islamic countries who may like to kick the French out of those countries. Can Sarkozy see the beating Bush took in Iraq and the westerners are taking in Afghanistan and Somalia from the Islamic radicals. By alienating China and the Islamic countries, Sarkozy may do the biggest damage to France’s future.
Some zealots are pressing President Obama to take a tougher stand against the Islamic government of Iran. These Americans should read the history of America’s involvement in Iran. In 1953, the CIA unseated the nationalist Prime Minister of Iran who was democratically elected and replaced him with “Shah”, the most brutal dictator. The irony is that the Shah was not even a genuine Shah because he had no royal blood. In Chile, the dually elected President Salvador Allende was overthrown and killed by the most brutal and ruthless dictator Pinochet with the help of CIA. The atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Napalm bombs on Vietnam and the cluster bombs on Iraq do not speak very well about the democracy or human rights.
The era of western domination is over. Sarkozy and people like him should accept the realities of the present times and be prepared to live in a multipolar world where we should tolerate, accept and celebrate Diversity. We should finally accept the fact that the western values are not the universal values. Let different people follow their own cultural and religious values. No matter how they look to us but the other people have an equal right to follow their way of life.
Dr. Sawraj Singh is Chairman of Washington State Network For Human Rights, and Chairman of Central Washington Coalition For Social Justice.