Wow! Dubai was spectacular. Rich, vibrant and alive. Loved the people and the sites. The night life made me feel like we were back in the glamour days of the 50’s in Hollywood. People dressed up and smoking was a very common reality. Visiting men in suits. Women with minks .
The local Muslim men wore robes and white head wear. It is tradition. White cloths reflect sun light, black cloth does not. Sun light produces heat. So, to keep themselves safe from HEAT of the SUN in the deserts, Arabs wear white cloth over their head.
The local Muslim women wore robes and head wear covering everything but their eyes and hands. “Hijab” is a word that indicates several conditions for the women’s Islamic dress. (http://islam.about.com/od/dress/tp/clothing-glossary.htm)
Here are some of the conditions:
1. Clothing must cover the entire body, only the hands and face may remain visible.
2. The material must not be so thin that one can see through it.
3. The clothing must hang loose so that the shape of the body is not apparent.
4. The female clothing must not resemble the man’s clothing.
5. The design of the clothing must not resemble the clothing of the non-believing women.
6. The design must not consist of bold designs which attract attention.
7. Clothing should not be worn for the sole purpose of gaining reputation or increasing one’s status in society.
The reason for this strictness is so that the woman is protected from the lustful gaze of men. She should not attract attention to herself in any way. It is permissible for a man to catch the eye of a woman; however it is unlawful for a man to look twice as this encourages lustful thoughts.
Traveling to Kathmandu
The journey to Kathmandu has been eye opening to me. It is very apparent that women are viewed as second class citizens in this region. An afterthought almost. Possessions to be beckoned.
The Dubai International Airport waiting area clarified this for me. There was a room set aside for women. A local man told me it was for their privacy, but my perception was it was clear they were set aside; out of view. It appeared that only men sat in the open waiting areas. The only women you saw in the open were Westerners or non-Muslim women.
It has been very interesting thus far observing how men do gaze at women. I find myself doing it. The Napali men on the plane took this to another level. Creepy really. And walking the Kathmandu streets tonight was deserted by women. I found myself purposely walking behind my colleagues as a protector. My seven sisters instilled “the protector” in me at an early age, but this was different. My awareness was definitely heightened.
The lesson of the day for me is respect for women is more than chivalry guys. It is standing up for them. Defending them. Protecting them. Not looking at them with thoughts of physical pleasures, but honoring them. Help them feel safe. Empowering them to be all that God have designed for them.
What’s on tap for tomorrow?
Our first meeting of the trip is at 9AM to talk about the Status of Party Politics in Nepal and then on to an Introduction To Political Transition and Culture in Nepal. This should be interesting in light of the fact that the county of Nepal does not have a constitution and they do not appear to have a consensus as to how to get there.
Tomorrow afternoon we have a cultural tour of Kathmandu including a visit to Swayambhunnath (also known as the Monkey Temple). It is an ancient religious complex atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley just west of the city. We all are hoping to see some monkeys.