Monday, February 23, 2009

Back...from the Attack

Hello All!

Well it has been an interesting several weeks. As many of you know I have a couple of real "kicker" illnesses that re-appeared and have required my utmost attention. In both cases I am moving ahead with some trepidation however forward progress can only be considered....good!

There is much to talk about in the news these days and many things I need to catch up on; stimulus packages; Bush/Cheney fighting (called that one!) and a myriad of issues that have a direct effect on the way each of us lives our lives. Too many roads to go down today in discussion but leave it to the Army Times to come up with a point of emphasis that I can run with.

I have always enjoyed the Army Times if for no other reason then for its "reporting" about what is happening in the service itself...but I digress...what drew me to today's copy was a cartoon that is a weekly staple of the paper. Pvt. Murphy's Law allows readers an inside view of Army life through the eyes of a private. Some of these comics are quite good and others are...well... open to imagination!

This weeks comic portrayed a young Army soldier (female) and a Muslim woman covered from head to toe in the traditional Burqa gazing at each other. The Army female was equipped with an M-4 rifle, combat helmet, boots and all the accoutrement's that being in combat affords soldiers these days. The Muslim woman is dressed so that the only thing visible are the hands and the eyes from under her burqa. For those of you who don't know, the burqa is the garment of choice in the Middle East and the one that covers the women most completely: either the eyes and hands are visible or nothing at all is visible.

Sorry fellas - no mid-drifts with this ensemble!

Originating in what is now Pakistan, it is more commonly associated with Afghanistan. Typically, a burqa is composed of many yards of light material pleated around a cap that fits over the top of the head, or a scarf over the face (save the eyes). To say it is not

Now all that said does anybody else see the cultural dichotomy of this cartoon? The United States sends thousands of female soldiers around the world in the pursuit of freedom and democracy yet those we protect are not afforded the same freedoms ALL of us enjoy. I look at the woman in the burqa and wonder what she might be thinking as G.I. Jane is standing there in all her regalia.

Mark Baker - who writes the cartoon - has pulled off a coup (if you will) of personal, religious and women's rights and freedoms in oppressive countries. No doubt the Muslim lady portrayed in the picture will never see this cartoon for what its net worth awareness! I will make some assumptions that others will see this and change could happen. Even if it does not it is still a very touchy subject and kudos for mark for addressing it!

You can view the whole set of comics at

Stay Warm and looking forward to getting back in the saddle!

Brian Hayes

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