In the News

There are a couple of recent stories that have caught my interest, with some of them having tie-ins to things I’ve posted about recently or in general. I thought I’d do a quick run-down here of some of the stories and why they’re of interest to me.

Tick Tock

First up is the news that the Domtoren is no longer signaling the quarter hour as it used to do. It seems that one of the pieces that is used for the automatic playing is damaged through normal wear and tear, so it won’t be used until it can be replaced. The current piece in question has been there since 1980. Fortunately, once the piece is replaced, the Domtoren will go back to chiming every 15 minutes.

Lego My Chair
Next up is the news that Rietveld’s famous Red and Blue Chair (seen here in a Lego version) is inspiring artists yet again. DWA, along with RnB, has used the chair as the basis for their redesign project:

The redesign project is an experiment into using music as inspiration in the design process, we ‘remix’ existing designs according to various musical genres, with the hope of making design as expressive as music.

I particularly like the RnB IKEA (pop) version of the chair, perhaps because of the interactive element, as well as the humor of it.

Headscarves
Finally, in somewhat more serious news, Queen Beatrix has been in Abu Dhabi this past week on a state visit, and while there she visited the Great Mosque. Naturally, she wore a headscarf/hijab (over her hat) as is required of any woman wishing to enter the mosque. Of course, members of the generally anti-Muslim PVV party decided to lambaste the queen for doing so, claiming she was legitimizing the suppression of women. The queen fired back that it was “echt onzin/sheer nonsense”.

As one of the articles about the story points out, “Ironically the party’s remarks came while Beatrix was in Abu Dhabi, one of the Islamic world’s most emancipated states, where two-thirds of university students and 70 per cent new business owners are women.”

As another article says, Wilders, the leader of the PVV, has certainly been known to wear a yarmulke when visiting synagogues, despite the fact that he is not Jewish. Depending on the branch of Judaism, there are sects where you could argue that there is similar suppression of women. For that matter, I remember lessons learned at a Southern Baptist school that also made it clear that women were lesser beings. In other words, Wilders and his supporters are being a bit hypocritical to say the least.

So, there’s my roundup of stories I’ve come across this week and found of interest. Hopefully, you found some of it at least vaguely interesting, as well. If you’re in Utrecht tomorrow, don’t forget it’s the kick-off of the monthly Cultural Sunday events held throughout the city. There’s always something interesting going on somewhere!

Oh, one last thing … Go Saints! (The New Orleans Saints are playing a play-off game tonight. Fingers crossed that they win!)

100 Headscarves

Hoofddoek
Friday I went with A Georgia Peach to the Centraal Museum to see the new Bloemaert exhibit, and along the way got to see a few other exhibits and pieces that I didn’t realize were already on display. One of the exhibits was this collection of 100 photos of a woman wearing variations on the hoofddoek (headscarf), a topic of interest in the Netherlands — and other countries — as the discussion of Muslim identity and integration rages on. One of the elements of this exhibit was to show that the headscarf is usually worn by choice, and worn at a later age than people often think. The exhibit aims to educate and present thoughts on it by the women who wear the headscarf.

Headscarves

The main woman in the exhibit is Boutaïna Azzabi, born in 1984. She lives in Doha, Qatar, and Veghel, Netherlands (where she was born). She studies communications here in Utrecht, and works as a social media analyst for Al Jazeera. She eats halal kroket and Verkade cookies. She has a passion for travel and investigative journalism; listens to Adele; and finds the headscarf indispensable. The variety of scarves is beautiful, as are the different faces she makes in the photos. I think my favorite is the cheeky wink.

De Baas
Along with the photos, there are quotes from Azzabi on the walls. The one seen here says that there is the perception that women who wear the headscarf are suppressed. “Nonsense,” is Azzabi’s response, as she goes on to say that her mother is the real boss of the house.

Regardless of your personal choice and opinion on the issue, it is a nice exhibit to raise awareness and help people be a bit more informed when discussing the topic. For me, the headscarves are still something that I notice, simply because I rarely saw in the US. Yet more and more, they are becoming part of the general scenery as I become used to seeing them here. Certainly, the young girls I see wearing them — girls who look trendy and are outgoing and behaving exactly as teenage girls always do — enforce this idea that the headscarf itself is no big deal.