Masks and face veils

a poem by S.zaynub Kamoonpuri, Tanzania


When last I visited India almost a decade ago
I recall riding on my brother's scooter
as he drove me around town,
And I saw fully veiled Muslim women
half their faces veiled, masked in Niqab
driving scooters, motorbikes, mopeds and motorcycles.
I also recall some women also covering half their faces with their dupattas
but their bodies were not covered up properly,
their arms and skin exposed since they were not wearing the Islamic burka cloaks and overcoats
and I remember asking about them to my brother
who had answered that they were Hindus, thus not wearing the hijab gowns but still veiling their hair and half their faces like Muslims do
and I had remarked wow, they are not Muslims yet covering their hair
and faces like us niqabiz and hijabeez
but to protect from dust, dust mites and other traffic pollutants and irritants
while we Muslim women veil half our faces and hair also to protect as well from the germs of lust, the virus of lewdness and leery stares.

Well, well now in these pandemic covid 19 virus times
people in many places in the world have now been wearing face masks
as the virus strikes and attacks
ESP those countries where the Muslim face veils had been banned and niqabi women mistreated.

Now the globular ball seems to be having a masquerade ball
where masks are the in thing for bare necessity
and baring the full face is risky for all.

I can't help saying yippee
I may hum like a hippy !
For now in these masking times few will frown and look down
upon our face veiling Niqab masks.

Both Muslims and non Muslims give us face veiled women a break
where we can breathe free,
without our masks being opposed, criticised or snatched
since there are Muslims too who had turned against this fine soft shield known as Niqab.
Authorities everywhere are less likely to ban and give trouble to us masked women like before because wearing a mask first protects others from the corona virus than the wearer herself.

And now even men are wearing masks, so now we have support from both genders.
and less people will give us hijabees a hard time as they had been doing lately before corona.
The ninja Niqab face mask was fast disappearing even among Muslim women prior to corona
but now it has become quite a global necessary item of protection and prevention of the spread of disease.

I feel everyone ought to wear face masks for general protection from viruses, germs, bacteria, dust and environmental pollutants and irritants,
and there are helmets which motorcyclists don that veil and cover half or most of the face already
all over the world
so people shouldn't make a fuss at all about us niqabees and hijabees really.!!!


Medieval European women used to wear black chiffon or georgette veils and I read of that in medieval plays and dramas as well.
In fact if you delve into historical literature you will find it was the medieval European non-Muslim women from the upper echelons of society, i.e the high ranking aristocratic elite women who wore head coverings and veils far more than the so called 'lower' rank women from the low social strata.

So I strongly feel all cultures ESP western societies should be more accepting of the Muslim hijab and Niqab veil masks.
I totally love love my Niqab, I am as attached to it as a turtle is to its shell and couldn't part from my face veil for a million dollars
and it is indeed a rare gem item of modesty even among Muslim women.
So now that face masks are back, yep yup hurray
what I can say is yeahh man, wow, hurrah and yay!!

Corona will teach the hard way that a woman in a mask and face veil can be an accomplished and awesome participant and citizen in service to society in general.
I don't know of any Muslim woman who is coerced into veiling the face,
I too wear the face covering veil outdoors of my own accord, by my own choice and out of my personal spiritual preference.


NB Footnotes : A Must AND Interesting Read Below!
Wikipedia:

'Covered Women? Veiling in Early Modern Europe | Susanna ...
Already by the late middle ages, the term 'veil' had considerable semantic reach, ... This new, net-like hood meant that for the first time, as Jutta Zanker-Seidel has written.. ...Venetian women had been wearing a thin, black, veil ...
A veil is an article of clothing or hanging cloth that is intended to cover some part of the head or face, or an object of some significance. Veiling has a long history in European, Asian, and African societies. The practice has been prominent in different forms in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The practice of veiling is especially associated with women and sacred objects..Besides its enduring religious significance, veiling continues to play a role in some modern secular contexts, such as wedding customs
History

Antiquity
Elite women in ancient Mesopotamia and in the Greek and Persian empires wore the veil as a sign of respectability and high status.[1] The earliest attested reference to veiling is found a Middle Assyrian law code dating from between 1400 and 1100 BC.[2] Assyria had explicit sumptuary laws detailing which women must veil and which women must not, depending upon the woman's class, rank, and occupation in society.[1] Female slaves and prostitutes were forbidden to veil and faced harsh penalties if they did so.[3]

Veiling was thus not only a marker of aristocratic rank, but also served to "differentiate between 'respectable' women and those who were publicly available ( and low class) ".[1][3] The veiling of matrons was also customary in ancient Greece. Between 550 and 323 B.C.E respectable women in classical Greek society were expected to seclude themselves and wear clothing that concealed them from the eyes of strange men.[5]

Classical Greek and Hellenistic statues sometimes depict Greek women with both their head and face covered by a veil. Caroline Galt and Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones have both argued from such representations and literary references that it was commonplace for women (at least those of higher status) in ancient Greece to cover their hair and face in public. Roman women were expected to wear veils as a symbol of the husband's authority over his wife; a married woman who omitted the veil was seen as withdrawing herself from marriage. NB S.Z.K.: ( No wonder westerners are quick to think that the Muslim veil is also a symbol of man's authority over women because the European veil had a historical male authoritarian feature as a symbol of male domination )

In 166 BC, consul Sulpicius Gallus divorced his wife because she had left the house unveiled, thus allowing all to see, as he said, what only he should see. Unmarried girls normally didn't veil their heads, but matrons did so to show their modesty and chastity.. Veils also protected women against the evil eye, it was thought.[9]
Intermixing of populations resulted in a convergence of the cultural practices of Greek, Persian, and Mesopotamian empires and the Semitic peoples of the Middle East.[3] Veiling and seclusion of women appear to have established themselves among Jews and Christians, before spreading to urban Arabs of the upper classes and eventually among the urban masses.[3] In the rural areas it was common to cover the hair, but not the face.[3]

In Italy, veils, including face veils, were worn in some regions until the 1970s.[12] Women in southern Italy often covered their heads to show that they were modest, well-behaved and pious. They generally wore a cuffia (cap), then the fazzoletto (kerchief/head scarves) a long triangular or rectangular piece of cloth that could be tied in various way, and sometimes covered the whole face except the eyes, sometimes bende (lit. swaddles or a wimple underneath too.[13]

For centuries, European women have worn sheer veils, but only under certain circumstances. . More pragmatically, veils were also sometimes worn to protect the complexion from sun and wind damage (when un-tanned skin was fashionable), or to keep dust out of a woman's face, much as the keffiyeh(worn by men) is used today.



In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam the concept of covering the head is or was associated with propriety and modesty. Most traditional depictions of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ, show her veiled.

Lace face-veils are still often worn by female relatives at funerals in some Catholic countries. In Orthodox Judaism, married women cover their hair for reasons of modesty; many Orthodox Jewish women wear headscarves (tichel) for this purpose.

[14] Veiling gradually spread to upper-class Arab women, and eventually, it became widespread among Muslim women in cities throughout the Middle East. Veiling of Arab Muslim women became especially pervasive under Ottoman rule as a mark of rank and exclusive lifestyle, and Istanbul of the 17th century witnessed differentiated dress styles that reflected geographical and occupational identities.[3] Women in rural areas were much slower to adopt veiling...15] Since wearing a veil was impractical for working women, "a veiled woman silently announced that her husband was rich enough to keep her idle."[16] By the 19th century, upper-class urban Muslim and Christian women in Egypt wore a garment which included a head cover and a burqa (muslin cloth that covered the lower nose and the mouth).[3] Up to the first half of the twentieth century, rural women in the Maghreb and Egypt put on a face veil when they visited urban areas, "as a sign of civilization".[17] The practice of veiling gradually declined in much of the Muslim world during the 20th century before making a comeback in recent decades. The motives and reasons for wearing a hijab are wide and various, but ultimately depend on each individual person's situation and can not be said to come from any one distinct reason or motive. [19] Although religion can be a common reason for choosing to veil, the practice also reflects political and personal conviction, so that it can serve as a medium through which personal choices can be revealed.20]


Face masks now in the corona pandemic

The French government has suggested that it could soon be recommended to wear a face mask in public as part of ongoing measures to fight Covid-19.
Having told their populations that wearing masks was all but useless against the coronavirus, several Western countries have performed dramatic U-turns in the last few days.
The rapid rethink as the number of deaths has rocketed has stirred anger and confusion, with some accusing their leaders of lying to them.

This week Germany's disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute, also urged Germans to wear homemade masks as many people across Europe and North America turned to online DIY tutorials posted by medical experts.

In another major shift on Friday, the French Academy of Medicine said that masks should be made obligatory for everyone leaving their homes during the lockdown.

Its recommendation came after much online anger when television presenter Marina Carrere d'Encausse, herself a doctor, said that the French government line that masks were only useful for carers was a "lie (told) for a good cause".

The country's response to the epidemic has, like many others, been dogged by reports of shortages of masks and other protective equipment for nurses and doctors

But asked on Friday about apparent mixed messages over the course of the crisis concerning whether people should wear sanitary masks, health chief Jérôme Salomon said they could help ...

"These masks allow you to protect yourself. If there is access to masks we encourage the public to wear masks if they desire," he said.

Masks are already compulsory in the Czech Republic and Slovenia and anyone going into a supermarket or food store in Austria has to wear one.

'They could reduce the risk': Germany updates advice on face masks


'Big mistake'
The most spectacular about-turn has been in the United States where President Donald Trump on Friday urged all Americans to wear a mask when they leave home.

With America accused of gazumping and even "piracy" by Berlin to procure masks, -- Trump's wife Melania tweeted that everyone should wear masks.

While mask wearing has been widespread in Asia since the beginning of the epidemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) and numerous governments had earlier insisted that they should only be worn by carers.

This stance was seen as way to protect the dwindling stocks of surgical and FFP2 masks -- which offer the most protection.

Seen from Asia, where wearing masks during the flu season is normal, Western reluctance seemed utterly baffling.

There is a "definite shift in the position of the US" towards wearing masks, Professor K.K. Cheng, a public health specialist at Birmingham University in Britain, told AFP.

The expert, a strong advocate of their use, said the WHO was reviewing its guidance.

"The big mistake in the US and Europe is that people aren't wearing masks," George Gao, the head of the China Centre for Disease Control, told the journal Science.

People infected with the virus are advised to wear them to stop the spread to others, with evidence that transmission can happen before a person knows they are sick.
Another argument in their favour is the theory -that the virus can be transmitted through the air.

'Spread through speaking'

Dr Anthony Fauci, who is leading the US government's response, has backed research that found it can be suspended in ultrafine mist formed when people exhale.

Research indicates "the virus can actually be spread even when people just speak as opposed to coughing and sneezing," Fauci told Fox News.

If that is confirmed, it would explain why the virus so contagious.


Celine Benzy (C) her companion Willy Schumann and Sabrina Berland present the second-hand materials they use to make face masks in the familly owned haberdashery, on March 24, 2020 in Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat. AFP
Even before the White House recommended masks, Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York, which has been badly hit by the epidemic, said residents should cover their faces when they got out.

"That could be a scarf or something you make yourself, a bandana," he said.

Germany's Koch Institute head Lothar Wieler said masks "could help to protect others...

"That is very important to understand," he added.

"You wear a mask to reduce droplets from one's own respiratory tract. It only works if everyone wears them, and if everyone does, you only need a very basic mask.

"A piece of tissue can block it. It's not perfect, but it's much better than nothing," he told AFP.

In an updated entry dated April 1st, the RKI website states: "Some infected people do not become ill at all (asymptomatic infection), but could still pass it on to others.

"In these cases, the precautionary wearing of masks could help to reduce the risk of transmission.

"Therefore, the wearing of temporary masks by people entering public places where the safety distance cannot be maintained, e.g. public transport, grocery stores or even at the workplace, could help to reduce the spread of SARS- CoV-2."
Masks can 'reduce' virus



A study that appeared on Friday in the review Nature will give the WHO plenty to think about ( as WHO was at first reluctant about masks)

It concluded that masks reduce the quantity of coronavirus breathed out into the air by people carrying it. The research was done with other members of the coronavirus family rather than the SARS-CoV-2 strain responsible for the current pandemic.

"This new study presents strong and compelling evidence in favour of mask wearing," said infection expert Dr Rupert Beale of the Francis Crick Institute in London.

"Public health officials must immediately take note of this important new evidence. Mask wearing does not completely prevent transmission... but (it) should form part of the 'exit strategy' from lockdown," he added.

Corona virus update from the U.S.A WHO Now recommending face masks
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for all Americans to wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus Friday, pushing for people to wear cloth coverings like a bandana or a scarf.

The recommendation is less about preventing the wearer from contracting the coronavirus themselves than it is about limiting asymptomatic people from unknowingly spreading the disease. Wearing cloth masks, the CDC said, could “help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.”

In recent days, Los Angeles County and New York state have encouraged residents to wear face coverings in public places to help stop the spread of the virus...

“Face coverings could provide some additional protection against COVID-19, but Californians should not have a false sense of security if they choose to wear them. Make sure you’re also staying 6 feet away from other people if you have to leave your home to get groceries or prescriptions,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly said in a statement Thursday.


“...as emerging data suggests facial coverings may prevent asymptomatic disease transmission to others."
Dr. Michael Ryan, the WHO’s emergencies chief, on Friday acknowledged a “very important and very healthy debate” about how masks are used.
“We still believe the main driver of this pandemic is symptomatic (transmission),” he said, not people who may be infected but aren’t showing symptoms.
“We can certainly see circumstances in which the use of masks — but homemade or cloth masks — at the community level may help in an overall comprehensive response to this disease,” Ryan said.
Schneider reported from Orlando, Florida. Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report.

• Encouraging people to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline to wear a simple cloth face covering in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as a a grocery stores etc ...

HIJAB FACE COVERING BAN PRIOR TO CORONA (REPORT)
'Several other European countries, such as Spain and Italy, have banned the face covering veil in individual cities and towns, and even more have reviewed proposals for bans at a local or national level.

Widespread calls for legislation outlawing face veils in public places started in France, which in 2011 became the first European country to introduce a nationwide ban. '



Italy and Spain have had the largest number of deaths from the corona virus and France has had 13,832 deaths .



"The Western prime minister who ridiculed and derided fully veiled Muslim women by calling them letterboxes has contracted the corona virus and must be wearing the letter box mask himself"






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