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Cover-up

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University students put on headscarves before a commencement ceremony at which Afghan President Hamid Karzai received an honorary doctorate, at Nippon Sport Science University in Tokyo on Monday. Karzai was given the honorary doctorate while meeting with Japanese Olympians in hopes of promoting peace.

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Perhaps these girls should see the execution video of a young women shot point blank at least five times for the most heinous crime of adultery, happening in, you guessed it- Afghanistan.

Karzai has done little to change anything. Taliban linger in the lurch, and the guy with the hat keeps his international begging campaign for cash to keep the dog and pony show rolling.

And in Japan, they prop him up with an "honorary doctorate", as he comes to "promote peace".

Take off those scarves, girls. Stand up for yourselves and your fellow women, whose rights hang by a thread.

20 ( +21 / -2 )

Besides the fact that it looks like hotel banquet napkins they're putting on their heads, I was just wondering ... if Noda were to receive an honorary doctorate in Kabul, would Afghan women be removing their headscarves to welcome him?

8 ( +8 / -1 )

Somehow, what with that woman being executed by the taliban, this donning of female Afghan garb seems wrong.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Misguided and ignorant, Karzai should not be honored or given special treatment until he gets his dusty dump of a country under control and real rights & law in place.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

This does not look good.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I like how they are having fun with it haha, I would to.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Tell Karzai and other Muslims to stuff it: that we are OFFENDED by forcing women to cover their heads. We consider such practices an affront to our own culture and values, and if you don't like it, too bad. You're a guest here.

4 ( +7 / -4 )

Karzai's Taliban mates wouldn't have women in a university in the first place. I hope the male university students donned false beards.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

To the commenters - the Taliban does NOT equal the Afghan government. The Afghan government does NOT execute women for adultery, or force them to wear headscarves even. Anyway, I think it was probably a well-meaning and nice gesture what these women did, though there was certainly no obligation for them to do so. I agree on one hand it's a little strange - not because I judge anyone who wants to wear a headscarf, but it seems a little bit like why bother, he knows it's not a Japanese tradition and those restaurant napkins are not very cute at all. But hey, they probably just wanted to show respect to the Middle-eastern traditions to create a welcoming, friendly atmosphere, so whatever.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

After the ceremony they went through the woods to visit grandmother.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Do these 'university' students have a clue what is happening outside Japan? They won't be laughing if they were forced to wear this over their heads and then faces and then cover their whole bodies. Why should they have to wear scarves when Karzai is coming to Japan. It's not as if these students were visiting Afghanistan. I agree with some of the posters here - Karzai has done nothing to advance the basic rights of women. His relationship with the Talibans is a bit too cosy.

3 ( +5 / -3 )

correction, muslim women are told to wear head scarf to cover their hair but its the person's free will to do it or not (in islam the women hair is considered to excite lust in men thus invite unnecessary trouble). Some muslim countries exercise this by rule and many others allows individual freedom. the pic seems to me is just to show respect to people from other religion and trying something out of the ordinary for fun.

Most japanese are not devout believer of any faith unlike christians/jews/muslims so them trying this is just like them having a marriage in a church even though they are not christian but just for the sake of their romance fantasy.

having said that, i disagree with the gov honoring the afgan president and giving away money without proper explanation how the money will benefit the Japan in return.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

LOL! YuriOtani!!! i was thinking the same thing!! lol xD

and i'm really annoyed japanese government are giving away money when they should help their own country first!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The one in the middle is wearing the "traditional" peeping headgear :)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

President Hamid Karzai received an honorary doctorate

That's impressive and im kind of jealous, he gets a doctorate and doesn't even have to do the time at uni.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Immature big time and clueless (this is not a new thing).

my2sense -- agreed. If they are doing this to somehow "honor" Karzai/Afghan culture, then, as others point out, they are showing support for a country that executes women for adultry -- a fairly common "crime" in Japan, especially among celebs. And if they are doing it to look cute or get a cheap laugh, then they don't deserve to be graduating from a university. Just shows again how completely clueless and culturally insensitive Japanese people really are -- even the best and brightest. Like a recent college grad working for Mizuho once told me, "It's Japan and everyone else" in his view of the world.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is a bit of a contradiction compared to yesterday's hot topic about the woman slain in the name of religion and culture.

Here we are today looking at Japanese women conforming in order to do what? Show respect? Women are treated differently in every nation. Although Japan does not condone the killing of that woman yesterday there are still tale tale signs that Japanese men would like to keep women below them.

I seriously doubt these educated women have any idea as to what happened yesterday. If they had known about that incident they wouldn't be covering up here in this photo.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

cleo,

I was hoping it was a mockery of the Taliban's religious requirement to cover their hair and that Karzai would see it as a mockery. But I think it was a clueless uni official not wanting to 'upset' the visiting 12th century political leader.

These women are university students. They should realize that women in Afghanistan are property to be abused, bought, maimed, and kept uneducated. Any 'respect' shown to the Afghan leader should be one of mockery. But then, they're Japanese university students.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I'm pretty sure most wouldn't be caught dead without it, by choice.

I agree 100%. I too think most Afghan women choose life over death. Thank you for clearly explaining why they wear the headscarf.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

WTF! The guy is a crook. Why kiss his ass? He should be investigated not honored...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Are they doing it to honour him? Or is it a protest at the plight of women in Afghanistan? Or were they told to cover up by some clueless uni official? The one in the middle especially looks like she's deliberately making a mockery of the 'cover-up' thing.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

the Taliban does NOT equal the Afghan government.

And with more money donated, they'll prove it.

Step right up.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

they probably just wanted to show respect to the Middle-eastern traditions

It's actually Muslim, and it's not a "tradition." Today it's more common in places like Malaysia and UK than it ever was in the past.

Your reasoning would be fine if Muslim women removed their head coverings in front of visiting Westerners "to show respect," but no way that would ever happen. The defenders here are basically saying, "show tolerance to the intolerant." Sorry, that equation ain't never gonna work.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

paulinusaJul. 10, 2012 - 09:16AM JST

"What are they trying to gain by sucking up to Afghanistan....?"

Afghanistan has lots of natural resources including rare earth deposits. Think Japan's interested?

Yes, even shows like this honorary degree are political farces for something that will never be. The country is too unstable for Japan to ever get anything out of it, and even if mines go up, they will be controlled by the Chinese. The world needs to stop giving into these lost causes, not to feed them useless honors they won't repay.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Drug dealer gets a honorary doctorate? Give me one too.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

And it's silly to imply that the Taliban are representative of all Afghanis, or all Muslims.

Ummm, I am not implying anything. I am saying the Taliban repesent the kind of Muslim that flogs and kills women for not following their version of Islam. ie, Yes woman have a choice in Afghanistan. If you call choosing life or death a choice. Given that choice, most seem to choose life.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I would understand this if the ceremony had been held in Kabul, but in Japan???

When in Rome do as the Romans do.

To me at least, it seems that Karzai is the one who has to do as the Japanese do when he is in Japan (or any other country for that matter) and not the other way around.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

look like large napkins

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why is all that needed? Japan needs money for themselves. What are they trying to gain by sucking up to Afghanistan....? Any resources will surely go to the taliban and the other "peacekeeping" nations...

and showing radical religious freaks in positive light cant be good to the nation

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Yeah, at Karzai's expense! Alex is right. What a waste of time!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Immature big time and clueless (this is not a new thing). Mocking women in the mideast is distasteful.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

What was Karzai's honorary doctrate in? Creative Accounting perhaps?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"What are they trying to gain by sucking up to Afghanistan....?"

Afghanistan has lots of natural resources including rare earth deposits. Think Japan's interested?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Funny that these Japanese girls must wear scarves to the president of a lower than third world backwards nation. Japan is giving them our ¥¥¥¥$$$$ from taxes so how about we tell them to take off their scarves, burqas and go shopping in Shibuya or Harajuku??

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The problem with photos is that it is highly subjective, it's a capture of a frame that is a split second. Without knowing the whole context, we don't know what some of those girls are laughing at, maybe someone said a funny comment at that moment or someone was on stage doing something that caught their attention, or this could be a protest.

It doesn't make sense for the females in Japan to don on traditional guests, considering he is the guest in Japan and not the other way around.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would have taken off my shoe and hurled it at his head! Karzai is an accomplice to murder and brutality, a crack-head, and the corrupt head of a failed state.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think the student in the middle needs a bigger scarf.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I wonder whether Karzai was honoured by this display (probably wondering what the hell was going on) or angered by seeing women in school instead of kitchen slash bedroom.

Then again, both cultures seem to have the same sort of opinion on the position of women.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All readers back on topic please. From here on, posts that do not focus on the photo will be removed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Japanese do love uniforms.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Usually, people put their napkins under their mouths. Maybe they are going to have a food fight and want to keep their hair clean.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

look like large napkins

Actually, I was also going to comment on this. I think they are donning large dinner napkins. Hijab are generally made of soft fabrics and flow after being tied. Looking at the young woman in the middle, the ends of the tied area are sticking straight out. Possibly the school did not know where to get hijab and thought napkins would be a good and unnoticed substitute?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Somehow this does not seem like a very good idea. Besides shouldn't he be apologizing for his gangs blowing up all that ancient Buddhist statuary on the border? Oh wait it's only the Japanese who should apologize for anything and everything. The rest of the world can just go around and blow stuff up and shoot women who want to go to school. I hope those girls are just being sarcastic or selling tablecloths. Anyway it just adds meaning to the phrase, "Moros en la costa!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The heinous murder of the woman in Afghanistan at the hands of those ruthless thugs (the Taliban) is appalling and should be internationally condemned.

But personally, I don't find anything wrong with the idea of wearing these scarves. I know all the arguments including the one about how it conceal's women's hair which is devishly attractive to horny young Afghans but.....here i think it is simply a weak attempt at trying to show some form of cultural solidarity and nothing more than that and so nothing wrong with it to my mind. If these women were asked to wear a burqa, now THAT would be a different story as burqas are really insulting to women.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's actually Muslim, and it's not a "tradition." Today it's more common in places like Malaysia and UK than it ever was in the past. Your reasoning would be fine if Muslim women removed their head coverings in front of visiting Westerners "to show respect," but no way that would ever happen. The defenders here are basically saying, "show tolerance to the intolerant." Sorry, that equation ain't never gonna work.

Wrong - head scarves are not exclusively Muslim. In many middle-Eastern countries, Christian women also cover up, and Jewish women, too (the old testament actually says that women should cover their heads, so yeah.) And yes, wearing a headscarf is associated with Islam, it's true. Many (but not all) Muslim women choose to wear headscarves - the Koran ensures that it's a woman's choice, to show her faith in God, derived from a pre-existing Middle-eastern tradition of covering the head in hot deserts, which keeps you cool and protected from the sun.

Your reasoning is totally faulty. To Muslim women who value the headscarf, they wear it to express their faith in God, to remove it in front of a Westerner would invalidate their faith. But to Japanese girls who are probably atheist, it has zero meaning, and they wear it purely as a sign of respect. You said "if Muslim women were to take off their headscarves to show respect in the West" - well, having hair free is NOT a sign of respect in the West, it's meaningless one way or the other. So why should a Muslim girl take off her scarf in front of us? It's pointless.

If I went to a mosque (and I've toured in them before, including in the Middle-east) I would wear a headscarf out of respect, because I'm placing myself in that situation and putting on a headscarf for a few minutes in no way invalidates my personal beliefs. Obviously, to force women to wear scarves is wrong, no one is arguing that. But most Muslim women wear it by choice, and they don't fancy forcing non-Muslims to wear it. It's a cultural AND religious tradition, and these uni girls were probably just trying to show welcome and respect, and have a little fun with it, too.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Karzai and sports science? And these women cover up for what? to promote the narrow minded and bigoted Afghan tradition of oppressing their women? Shame!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Ben Jack

I agree 100%. I too think most Afghan women choose life over death. Thank you for clearly explaining why they wear the headscarf

No, they wear the headscarf because they are Muslim. And it's silly to imply that the Taliban are representative of all Afghanis, or all Muslims.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

People should read "A Thousand splendid Suns" by Khaled Husseini. He also wrote the Book "The Kite Runner".

In his 2nd Book he focuses on the womens side covering 2 generations.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

i don't understand why some of you people look at muslim women covering up like if it's something ofending their dignity as humans! why can't you just understand that when they cover their hair it's just because to them it's a way to show their respect and their devotion to their god and their religon! when nuns cover themselves and decide to serve the cherch in your countries why don't you talk about them the same way you do about muslim women! i don't also understand that you all pretend to respect the diffrences in cultures but when it comes to islam and especially the way muslim women are treated in islamic countries you only take what you hear in the media why don't you try to look for the truth instead?!! may be if you do that you'll see the real values of islam and the great role it gives to women in their society!!......covering up is more like a choice to those women and not an obligation, so please stop insulting people just because they don't think the same way you do! and if these japanese girls want to show the guy they respect him as a person regardless his religon you should take them as an example instead of calling them "completely clueless and culturally insensitive"!!! and by the way, i don't know why you can't get it that in some countries like japan, men and women in the past , somehow used to split the roles between them, the man works outside the house to feed his family and the woman represents the house and the family! what's so bad about that?!! it's just a cultural difference so just live with it people!!!!! peace!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I guess this is congruent with putting on anonymous masks and picking up trash. Put on scarves to show respect to the human rights abusing country you'd like to give money to.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Immature big time and clueless (this is not a new thing). Mocking women in the mideast is distasteful.

And if they are doing it to look cute or get a cheap laugh, then they don't deserve to be graduating from a university. Just shows again how completely clueless and culturally insensitive Japanese people really are -- even the best and brightest

Woah. Don't most Muslim women wear a headscarf as a sign of their devoutness to their God? I'm pretty sure most wouldn't be caught dead without it, by choice. Therefore, these girls would be taking steps to support the beliefs and views of women AND Mr Karzai, which makes them considerate, culturally sensitive and open minded in my book.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

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