14 August 2006

British Post Office, I stand by you!

No, really, some people do not know when it is time to stop in their righteous anger, to take a deep breath and to weigh their words and actions. Some people are ready to jump, as a tiger on a fresh leg of mutton, on anything that appears to them to be overly politically correct. Even when that breather and a second look could show a completely different picture.

Especially when the whole hullabaloo is about a picture:

A five-year-old girl's passport application was rejected because her photograph showed her bare shoulders. Hannah Edwards's mother, Jane, was told that the exposed skin might be considered offensive in a Muslim country.

This is only for starters. And then the reporter and (obviously egged on by him) Hannah's mother go to the end of the earth to fight the system.

Mrs Edwards, a Sheffield GP, said: "I was incensed. I went back home and checked the form. Nowhere did it say anything about covering up shoulders. If it had, I would have done so, but it all seems so unnecessary.
"This is quite ridiculous, I followed the instructions on the passport form to the letter and it was still rejected. It is just officialdom pandering to political correctness.
"It is a total over-reaction. How can the shoulders of a five-year-old girl offend anyone?

Now, Ms Edwards (and not Mrs Edwards, to be completely politically correct): in some areas of the world, that happen to be mostly of Muslim persuasion, a tip of female's nose could send a pious local man into a fit of what you, as a GP, are familiar with as "masturbation". And we cannot have it, can we? So there is quite a grain of truth in the advice given to you by the valiant Post Office employee.

And before you start again claiming that there is no written instruction started with "Bare shoulders: rejection of", you must give your government some credit. Not everything could be put on paper, especially in a delicate case like this. After all, both you and the righteous Telegraph reporter missed the point. Here it goes, and I shall stoop to putting the relevant parts of the article in bold:

1. Hannah Edwards's mother, Jane, was told that the exposed skin might be considered offensive in a Muslim country.
2. The photograph was taken at a photo-booth at a local post office for a family trip to the south of France.

Due to the special delicacy of situation (that is really close to explosive, he he), I shall put the following into a form of a questionnaire, where the relevant questions are mixed with irrelevant ones:

  1. Is the sky blue?
  2. Do bare shoulders excite Muslim men?
  3. Is Lance Armstrong a man?
  4. Is France becoming a Muslim country?
  5. Does the Pope excrete in the Vatican?
After you answer all the questions (hint - all answers are "yes"), you shall see why the Post Office is a darling. And why I stand by the Post Office. And you should too...

Cross-posted on Yourish.com