Change she wroteIntroducing a new YT column [Archives:2004/727/Culture]

April 8 2004

By Sadaf Shah
[email protected]

Hear ye! Hear ye! This is the beginning of a new column in Yemen Times called “Change She Wrote” for the purpose of giving our readers in Yemen a woman”s perspective on all issues. I am here to present a view of the world around us, as events unfold and history is made. I offer only my passionate perspective on everything from politics, to economics, to social issues. Sometimes I may even write about religious issues for I am a Muslim and I can never forget that.
As the title of this column indicates, I long for change in all aspects of life. Change in the human psyche, in the apparent arrogance and hypocrisy of man. Hence, this column may become a catalyst for me to release my inner anguish, and that means my very own personal feelings. Most often though, I do not intend to bore our readers with -mushy) topics however, sometimes such issues can be expected. It all depends on whatever is happening in the world around us.

Feedback from Readers
As our learning experiences help us expand our knowledge and understanding, I believe we are in constant need of refreshing our opinions and beliefs. There are some beliefs that are irrefutable, like universal truths that transcend time and space, for example the existence of God.
There are other beliefs that change over a period of time because of lack of scientific support or verification for example, the belief held hundreds of years ago about the earth being the center of the universe. In the same way, this column may also “change” in some respects over a period of time. I believe change is good for us; it”s healthy and enlightening. This is the point where I welcome readers” comments/criticism. As the reader, you also have a responsibility to react to a piece of writing. I take criticism well, so please do not hesitate to write to me and tell me how you felt about a certain article I”ve written or suggestions for topics you would like for me to investigate and inform about. In the meantime, enjoy the readings!

Underneath the veil
In my five years of life in Yemen, I have come across and personally experienced prejudice on account of the veil. We often fear that which we do not understand or have knowledge of. In time, that fear translates into hatred and manifests itself in prejudice and discrimination. In Yemen, the veil has become very common. One cannot miss women dressed all in black from head to toe as they are present basically in all spheres of life in Yemen. They are to be found in hospitals, banks, public offices and even the courts. Underneath the veil, one will find doctors, educators, lawyers, and even social workers. Most of all, one will find simple, ordinary women just following a custom/tradition. Yes Islam prescribes the veil, however there are certain guidelines to be followed and it would be too lengthy to dwell in the details here. We will leave that to be discussed for another time. The important issue here is prejudice based on a woman”s choice to wear the veil. Please do not think women who wear the veil are suppressed, oppressed, backward and uneducated. One may never know that there was a Canadian writer or a Russian engineer underneath that black veil. And if one still continues to practice blatant forms of discrimination against such women, then one does not have the right to call oneself civilized.