Sultana's Dream

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Sultana's Dream
November 2013

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Editor: A Ticket to Nowhere? Not the romantic Kenny Roger’s lyrics of yesteryear.

Acting on instructions from Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, government representatives at the United Nations have withdrawn Australia's support for an order to stop ''all Israeli settlement activities in all of the occupied territories''.

While 158 countries supported the UN in calling for an end to Israeli settlements, Australia joined eight other countries, including South Sudan and Papua New Guinea, in abstaining from voting. Labor governments under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard condemned the settlements.

Former foreign affairs minister Bob Carr described Australia's withdrawal of support for Palestine as ''a shame, in the deepest sense''.
The executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, Colin Rubenstein, said he ''emphatically [welcomed] the government's principled leadership in changing these votes, reverting to the Howard/Downer position''.
Ms Bishop's spokeswoman said the minister was on a plane and could not respond to questions.

Sydney Morning Herald 25 November 2013

The niqab ban: why aren’t we having a debate about banning high heels?
Extract from an article by Jessica Abrahams:


The British government does not have a policy on high heels, and it is right that women are free to wear them, but that doesn’t mean that heels are great for feminism or that they do not help to perpetuate sexist values. They do. And since one argument that is often raised in favour of banning the veil is that women are sometimes forced to wear them, it is worth pointing out that women are sometimes forced to wear high heels, too—either at work, through official company policy, or through social pressure. Similar arguments could be applied to make-up, and shaving, and lingerie, and, yes, niqabs. All of these things are problematic for feminism, but we’re only having a debate about banning one of them. It is easy to portray the veil as an imported symbol of discrimination that doesn’t fit with British values of freedom and equality. It is harder to notice that many everyday aesthetic norms for women don’t fit with these values either.

We shouldn’t ban the veil, or heels, or make-up. Wearing them is (in most cases) a free choice. But that doesn’t mean those things are helpful to equality, and in discussing that we should turn our attention towards our own culture as much as to others.

Editor: Abraham’s article elicited ten or so responses- all were critical of her arguments.


Do Muslim women really need saving?


Years ago, when I was a student working in retail, a co-worker pointed out two veiled women. Knowing I am Muslim, she said: "Do you call that a life?" From what I could see, the women were happily shopping, and having "a life." I told her as much. Her response was something I've come to hear many times over: "That's because they don't know any better."

Editor’s Comment: We’ve heard that one before! 


Open Your Own Bazaar

The Editor invites readers to submit their own Bazaar/Bizarre Moments for publication. 

Preferred word length is 100-200. Your anecdotes of the BIZARRE could come from real life or something you might have read elsewhere. If you are cut and pasting from material that is not your own, however, a gentle reminder that YOU MUST CITE YOUR SOURCE or else you fall into the fiery pit of PLAGIARISM.

New readers to SULTANA may find it useful to read earlier editions for examples of our witty, wacky and somewhat macabre sense of humour. They are archived under Previous Editions.

The editor has the final say. Submissions should be emailed to: