There has been much news coverage recently about the use of veils by women of Middle Eastern descent. While it is important to respect a person’s ethnicity and beliefs, it is also important that this is a reciprocal arrangement. If I am in someone else’s country I always follow some fundamental principals. I am a guest, and as such I should follow the local laws and conventions.

If the local style is to wear a Yankee’s baseball cap, then I wear one! If  I am invited to someone’s house and they are non-smokers, I go outside to light up. This is nothing more than good manners.

The same should be true if you are visiting or living in someone else’s country. You are a guest, you should follow the local customs.

Tony Blair may have been a little insensitive with his remarks about veils, but he certainly was telling the truth. We in the western hemisphere like to see who we are talking to. I know for sure that if I was to walk into my bank wearing a black hood with eye and mouth holes in it, the level of service I received would be quick, but probably not satisfactory, and would almost certainly guarantee a visit to the local Police station.

Much has been written about Mr Blairs comments, one of my favorites is this one. It is clear that even the little guy is not happy with the situation.

I personally get very upset that we in the west have to ‘bow down’ to the wants of the east. It is clearly inappropriate to take ‘Ceremonial Daggers’ to school, and a driver’s license picture showing only the eyes and mouth does not make much sense either.

 If you want to live here, learn and embrace our culture!

 Simon Barrett

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