Jude Collins

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Getting hot and bothered with a headscarf

I was on BBC Radio Ulster/ Raidio Uladh’s ‘Sunday Sequence’ this morning with David Vance. I’d never met him before but as often happens, I found him thoroughly likeable. Maybe I should see a head-doctor  – I keep meeting and liking people whose views, political and otherwise, I vigorously reject.

Anyroad, our topic for discussion this morning was the wearing of the hijab/headscarf  by a young woman from Saudi Arabia in the judo section of the Olympic Games. David figured that allowing her to wear it was to cave in to Islam’s demands yet again.  Cheesh.  You might as well say the Olympic authorities caved in to the nutters who pushed for protective head-gear for boxers, to Oscar Pistorius the double-amputee who insisted on wearing artificial limbs when running, or to international male lust by including beach volleyball on the list of Olympic competitions. 

David’s argument – it wasn’t always easy to follow – was that allowing the hijab was somehow a display of weakness by the International Olympic Council. Eh?  The IOC weak? Try that with the sports authorities in Istanbul. It’s a mainly-Muslim city with a 75,000-seater stadium that has applied five times  to host the Olympic games and has been five times rejected.  Other big Muslim cities like Cairo and Kuala Lumpur get a similar brush-off. On the other hand London has hosted the games three times, ditto Tokyo, Madrid twice. Cave in? You surely jest.

The IOC is too busy caving into commercialism. Watch for fifteen minutes on telly and you’ll see what I mean  -  athletes sporting advertisements for Speedo, Asics, Nike and Adidas. Then there’s Omega and Coca-cola.    Rule 50 of the Olympic charter prohibits any kind of “demonstration  of political, religious or racial propaganda in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas”. Yet you regularly see athletes blessing themselves, pointing to heaven when they win, draping themselves in their national flag, and the league-table for medals-by-nation  is regularly flashed on our screens. And I seem to remember  national anthems sounding at the medal awards ceremonies. But maybe that isn’t seen as propaganda.

Finally, does the name Damian Hooper ring a bell? He’s an Aborigine man boxing for Australia, and he made the mistake of entering the ring wearing a t-shirt with the Aborigine flag on it.  The Australian Olympic Committee rapped his knuckles for him: how dare he bring politics into the Olympics? Right. And yet last night,  Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah were draped in their national flag immediately on winning gold medals. Justified cheers rather than knuckle-raps.

A bit inconsistent, wouldn't you say? Compared to all that, it seems hardly worthwhile getting your knickers in a twist over a  headscarf, does it David?

You can hear our discussion  at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/b01lbhb1   Start at 15mins 40 secs into the programme.


  1. Good points Jude. You don't need a head doctor. You need to keep working on your self-imposed encounter group therapy sessions. You're not starting to warn to multi-cultural Olympic winning Britain are you? You'd be entitled to. Ennis is an Irish town after all.

  2. I stopped watching the Olympics many years ago,when they allowed professionals to compete. The whole spirit of the Olympics went out the window when that happened.
    Now it's all commercialized and politicized. The greedy corporate psychopaths have no shame and the politicians are falling all over themselves to cash in on the sweat and pain of "their" athletes. That is of course, if "there" athletes win .
    The naval gazing and disgusting narcissism of the top nations turns me off.
    The modern day Olympics and the TV coverage are sickening. And no matter which country, the bile that spews out of your TV is so phony and superficial, it creates a false sense of national pride.
    No sir I do not watch this circus they call the Olympics. Especially here in North America. American and Canadian TV coverage of the games is like one big soap opera. In other words, it's a joke.

  3. Jude,

    Vance consistently mocks and abuses those who appear with him on air (on what he calls the *biased BBC* and who engage with his hate-site. You should look at what he and an American blogger *Troll* post there - racial hatred, pure and simple. Don't dignify him with your presence and check out his site for his mockery of you and your reasonableness.