What's wrong with mini-skirts?..
From: Helen Faller [mailto:hmfaller@...
Sent: Thursday, March 07, 2002 10:24 PM
Subject: Re: [tatar-l] response to Helen and Terken
A brief response from me.
I very much appreciated your insights, Mahmoud. They were most interesting.
All the same, I didn't imply, and certainly didn't mean to if I seemed to,
that all Tatar girls run around in mini-skirts. Moreover, I would never
even entertain the thought that the same customs for acceptable dress hold
true in the Republic of Turkey, or anywhere else for that matter. My own
experience has shown me that skirts of "normal length" in Tatarstan are
scandalously short in parts of Turkey. And, indeed, these skirts are normal
for walking down Bauman Street, but I wouldn't interview Fauzia Bayramova
in one. That is, I agree, how propriety is interpreted is differently
inflected depending upon a number of circumstances, location being just one
What I would like to assert, however, is that in interviews with some urban
Tatar adolescents, as well as over the course of more than a year of
observation of them, wearing short skirts in no way impedes their piety.
--On Thursday, March 07, 2002 12:46 PM -0600 Mahmoud Mohamand
> I do agree with Helen in that the American Press/Reporters do not have
> the faintest idea of what they are reporting on most of the time. For
> Terken the terminology, sybaritic life, most likely has reference to some
> sort of Greek culture or a reference to hedonism. Sybar was an Ancient
> Greek (Yunan) habitation in the S. of Italy. Therefore Sybaritic most
> likely has some sort of reference to the life of hedonism it seems most
> Ancient Greeks and Italians endulged in.
> In short the article is most likely some by product of propaganda against
> Islam which, here in the U.S. is quite often. Amidst these volatile
> times the U.S. media chooses to either paint us (Muslims) all as AK
> carrying lunatics with our heads wrapped in Turbans wailing verses from
> Qur'an Kerim as we allegedly murder innocent people. This is something
> that I think historically is done to all "alleged enemys" of the U.S.
> Since they see a fanatical Taliban doing things in their country which
> most of us (Muslims) would never dream of they decide to stereotype and
> categorize. In making Islam and Muslims look backward they are in effect
> dehumanizing us to a level for which they could in their minds hold a
> justifiable contempt for us. There were instances when they had slogans
> like "Kill a Guk for God!" which reffered to the Vietnamese during the
> Vietnam conflict. Notice Conflict not war beca! use the only battles
> deemed as wars are ones in which there is a clear U.S. victory. When not
> attacking a geographical location and its people as it appears in the
> article they often create derrogatory names or phrases. There were also
> offensive names for Iraqis/Arabs During the Persian Gulf War(i.e. "Rag
> Heads, Sand Niggers, etc") If the reporters go to a place like Tatarstan
> and see that there are western influences and that people partake in them
> they report that. This does two things it inrages other Muslims who then
> call us (Tatars) Kaffirs or infidels because of those influences even
> though many of the same things are available to those people in their own
> country--I have been to both Peshawar, NWFP, Pakistan (a large settlement
> area for Afghan Mujaheddin and refugees) and Khost and Jallalabad,
> Afghanistan while the Taliban were there and there was Prostitution and
> large scale drug use in both areas. While most t! ourists and westerners
> will never see those societal ills they do exist.
> After all the media in the U.S. is a corporation which is rewarded for
> ratings and the more conspiracy and mystery or argument they can cause
> the better for their coverage and ratings. I did deffect to the U.S. and
> there are things I hate about it and equally many things I love. I am
> just trying to paint a clearer picture of how things are run here for
> those who may not necessarily live or have traveled to the US.
> The comment about the miniskirts was a little much though. It depends on
> the family, individual, and society. In my family for example things
> like that would not be tolerated (for girls or guys) and we are Crimean
> Tatars yet to others it is fine. In Turkiye, as I am sure most of the
> list members are at least generally acquainted with, there are large
> cities like Istanbul or Ankara where there most certainly are discotechs,
> strip clubs and even "legal" or in some course of language "free
> prostitution" however, if you go to the rural areas and for example are a
> man wearing shorts in front of any female of that area or village the
> consequences could be rough. Likewise, within Istanbul itself, there are
> devoutly religious areas of the city where many of these things would not
> go over well at all either. To say that the people offended by girls
> wearing minis or guys wearing shorts are backward is not correct they are
> ! just of a different culural belief. Throughout Europe many countries
> (i.e. France, Spain, etc..) women go to the beach topless. This is not
> the case everywhere. In the U.S. and Mexico the authorities would be
> inclined to fine you if you tried that on a public beach. It is all
> about cultural difference and religious devotion and morals--something
> that should be respected and left to the individual (or their guardians
> i.e. parents, supporters) to decide. Hey, ultimately it is between Allah
> and the individual, right?
> Mahmoud-Tahir Ustan Fitel
> >From: Helen Faller
> >To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> >Subject: Re: [tatar-l] piece on Tatarstan in The Atlantic Monthly
> >Date: Thu, 07 Mar 2002 11:35:54 -0500
> >Since when do they show Mork and Mindy in T-stan?
> >I've never heard of this fellow, but that's not surprising, since most
> US >journalists/foreign correspondents have little to no background in
> the >areas about which they write.
> >Americans tend to think Islam to be incompatible with leading a normal
> life >so the idea that, for example, Tatar girls can wear mini-skirts
> and still >be devout is alien to them.
> >Once again, my two tiyin.
> >Isenlekte kalygyz,
> >--On Wednesday, March 06, 2002 9:26 PM +0000 terkenh
> > > Isenmesez
> > >
> > > I was surprised when I saw the words "the sybaritic life in
> > > Tatarstan" in The Atlantic Monthly. It was about an short article on
> > > Tatarstan and Islam. I wonder the reason behind putting a such piece
> > > in this popular journal. Unfortunately, full text is not available on
> > > the web. I attached the absract to reflect the author's perspective.
> > > Does anybody know who he is?
> > >
> > > Terken
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > Islam versus the pleasure principle
> > > The Atlantic Monthly; Boston; Mar 2002; Jeffrey Tayler;
> > >
> > > Words in Document: 1771
> > >
> > > Abstract:
> > > Taylor discusses his recent visit to Kazan, Russia, where he found a
> > > happily mixed population of Tatars and Russians, Muslims and
> > > Christians, who are eager for the trappings of American culture.
> > > Local residents enjoy watching American television shows such
> > > as "Mork & Mindy," frequent bars and strip clubs, and yearn to buy
> > > American-brand food and clothing.
> > >
> > >
> > >
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> > >
> >Helen M. Faller
> >Ph.D. Candidate
> >Department of Anthropology
> >University of Michigan
> >1058 LSA Building
> >Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382 USA
> >tel. (734) 764-7274
> >fax (734) 763-6077
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Helen M. Faller
Department of Anthropology
University of Michigan
1058 LSA Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382 USA
tel. (734) 764-7274
fax (734) 763-6077
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