Guest post by DaveM
The Hamas decision to ban women from riding on the back of motorcycles doesn’t appear to have gone down well at all with Gaza’s man on the street, according to this report on Lebanese station New TV’s evening news broadcast.
Reporter: “Far from politics but maybe not quite so far from religious fatwas– the Hamas-led Palestinian Government [in Gaza] has issued a declaration banning female Gaza citizens sitting behind their husbands as passengers on their motorbikes. Hamas says this decision was taken as a result of a number of accidents which have occurred; however they haven’t actually mentioned what these accidents were.” [i.e., when and where they took place, who was involved, who was injured, etc.]
Unnamed Hamas spokesman: “Therefore this decision was because we found that most recently there has been a number of road accidents in which the motorcyclists involved in them have had women on the back seat. And the talk about how this decision is an attempt to curb people’s freedoms, well that’s totally false and completely incorrect because we can see women in cars, even in carts and walking freely in the streets.”
Man by motorcycles: “What’s the problem with seating your wife behind you and riding with her? Taking her to her family’s house, her sister’s house, to her brother’s house. Really I don’t know what to say. In all countries they let them ride. In all the Arab countries they let them ride on motorcycles, and in the Islamic countries they let their women and wives ride on motorcycles behind them. What’s the difference then with us when someone seats his wife behind him on a motorcycle and rides with her? She is his wife after all!”
Man wearing blue shirt: “It’s a government decision. Me? I ride a motorcycle with my wife sitting behind me without any problems. But if the government decide otherwise then naturally I have to do what they say.”
Man wearing white t-shirt: “Banning women? If it’s connected with customs and traditions and that sort of thing, well, I’m against this part of limiting of freedoms.”
Reporter: “The middle classes and the poor are the biggest users of motorcycles as they provide them a service at a low cost.”
What’s strange is that they’ve made a decision which puts at a severe disadvantage the very people whose votes they need in the next elections. People who can afford cars aren’t affected by this in the slightest.
Also strange are these phantom road crashes the spokesperson referred to as being the reason behind this law when the Interior Ministry made it very clear the law was enforced “to preserve citizen safety and the stability of Palestinian society’s customs and traditions.”
I personally think the reason behind the ban may lie somewhere around here.
Apparently not uncommon among motorcyclists.
Naturally these fears and neuroses towards women and sexuality are more than matched by a zeal and enthusiasm towards nihilism and violence.
Not that any of this particularly matters to some people.