10 September 201010 September 2010 Main Posts The burqa and cruise missile liberals Editorial team Late last month, the Age published a piece by Sushi Das re-opening the so-called ‘burqa debate’. Das argued: The burqa is not just confronting, it is frightening because of what it looks like and what it stands for. You simply cannot discuss it without at least a passing glance at what is happening to women in conservative Muslim countries such as Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. When people pussyfoot around injustices because they fear being labelled racists or worry they will fan bigotry, or think they have no right to pass judgment, it creates a void, not intelligent debate. This void is inevitably filled with rants from those who hold polarised positions. The Das article provides a remarkable confirmation of the argument put forward by Michelle Carmody in the current edition of Overland. Carmody writes: [C]ontemporary forms of liberalism engage in a kind of humanitarian colonialism whereby the imposition of a new social or cultural structure is legitimised though a discourse of freedom – one of the ‘highest aspiration[s] of the common people’, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The practice is evident in phenomena as diverse as the continued military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, the banning of the burqa in France and elsewhere, and the intervention in the Northern Territory here in Australia. In all of these cases, freedom from the oppression of culture and tradition gone wild is given as the raison d’être of the action. The civilising mission, mark II. Carmody’s essay can be read in full in Overland 200. Editorial team More by Editorial team Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 11 November 202211 November 2022 Main Posts On the last day of Subscriberthon, our amazing online editor gives you one last (very good) reason to subscribe Editorial team What's in store for the last day of Subscriberthon? First published in Overland Issue 228 10 November 202210 November 2022 Main Posts On the second-last day of Subscriberthon, our favourite editor-duo give you reason #1002 to subscribe to Overland Editorial team What's in store for the second-last day of Subscriberthon?