Las guerras de los velos

En todo el mundo los velos están regresando. Por todas partes, en los lugares públicos, desde escuelas y universidades hasta parlamentos, se puede ver a mujeres veladas, ya sea con prendas que cubren sólo la cabeza (las llamadas “hijabs”), la cara y la cabeza (“chador” y “burqa”) o el cuerpo entero.

¿Por qué se está dando este regreso? Aunque se supone que el velo está basado en las tradiciones, su reaparición parece ser una respuesta a la inestabilidad social y política de hoy. En Afganistán y otras partes de Asia, la caída de los regímenes comunistas incitó un aumento de la ortodoxia religiosa, como lo hizo el derrocamiento del Sha en Irán. En Egipto y Arabia Saudita, de hecho, en todo Medio Oriente, la reaparición del velo tiene muchas raíces: algunos sostienen que surgió de la derrota árabe en la guerra de 1967 contra Israel; otros dicen que comenzó con la desintegración del sueño de la unidad árabe.

Esta conexión con la política sugiere con más fuerza aún (dado que el Corán apenas hace mención del velo) que esa práctica es un artificio social y religioso: el velo permite la creación de una nueva identidad política instantánea –una especie de “tradición instantánea”—que es particularmente poderosa cuando el velo se hace obligatorio. Esta obligatoriedad puede lograrse tanto de arriba hacia abajo –por ejemplo, mediante decretos que reinterpretan los preceptos islámicos—como de abajo hacia arriba, a través de normas comunitarias y presión social.

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