The Sunken Synagogue
pa vezer o vageal e kreiz e klever a-wechoù un trouz iskis:
kleier ur sinagogenn a zo o seniñ dindan ar mor...

Monday, May 22, 2006
Dressing Iran up and down

The supposed new Iranian dress code was a good story while it lasted. Yellow stripes for Jews, red ones for Christians, and blue for Zoroastrians, all with the noble goal of helping Muslims to avoid touching the Other and thereby getting cooties becoming unclean. While the obvious intellectual question of how distinguishing between different types of infidels was relevant for that end was raised by no one, anyone with a moral filling in their bottom-left bicuspid had a golden chance to show it off, and so a wave of furious denunciations swept across the net, complete with ominous images of pre-Holocaust "Jude" badges for comparison.

Anyone who's reading this has probably heard by now that the truth was not quite so spectacular (unless we're being played with again, of course). With hat tips to Mystical Paths and Kamangir, here's a translation from Zharf of what the legislation is really about:

1) Encouraging fabric designers and producers in using Iranian and Islamic patterns and styles in producing fabric and dress.
2) Respecting the traditional patterns and lively symbols of Iranian ethnic groups and paying attention to proper body coverage based on Islamic Sharia.
3) Taking advantage of research in obtaining original(to Iran) fabric patterns.
4) Encouraging the public in using the Iranian styles.
5) Supporting local producers of traditional clothes with loans and providing them exposure in clothes fairs and festivals.
6) Helping the public access to traditional clothes by establishing permanent dress fairs on local and regional bases.
7) Organizing regional (international) dress fair for exchanging experiences with other Muslim countries.
8) Inspecting and Controlling the imports of fabric and clothes to prevent the import of clothes incompatible with cultural, Islamic and national values.
9) This draft is written with coordination with the managing body in charge of clothing and dress.
10) Financial support for NGOs, unions, and non-governmental institutions in providing national clothing.
11) Media, in special the national TV, must help in establishing the usage of national clothing and they have to avoid advertising styles inconsistent with our culture.

Funny thing is, if it were a little less totalitarian, I'd say it was almost admirable. Sticking to one's own traditions instead of blindly emulating the practices of other societies is a value that Judaism espouses too ... sort of ... I mean ... except when it comes to clothes, music, food, language ... and I'd better stop before this list gets too long. Well, there are a few people at Beged Ivri who have tried to (re-)create some real Jewish clothing, but if someone caught you wearing one of their tunics or tallithoth you'd probably be arrested it hasn't quite caught on yet. We still see haredim dressing like antiquated Europeans, modern orthodox like respectable Americans, and settlers like unrespectable Americans hippies. Looking on the bright side though, we have succeeded at implementing our own minority dress codes, even without government intervention! If the Iranians could hold off from scorching us, perhaps we could teach them a thing or two.

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מי הוא זה ואי זה הוא

Name: Sabzi Aash
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