Thursday, February 16, 2006

How the West was lost

When I saw this picture below, I am sorry to say, that was the first title that came to mind for this post. Carrefour, the giant French retailer, decided to boycott (?) Danish products in Muslim countries where it has stores. You can tell that because the sign is first in Arabic, and then in English with misspellings. You can look at it further be it on the German Spiegel commenting on Nestle insisting that Swiss is not Danish or the NYT which ambiguously report that the Danes feel economically victimized as they measure the true extent of European solidarity. Meanwhile the French retailer tries to dodge the bullet in a not very convincing way



Now, I can appreciate that Western stores are under some form of pressure in many Islamic countries. But, would it not be enough to just pull out from the shelves Danish products (which probably would not be sold anyway)? Would it not be enough to just leave the empty shelves? Regular customers would get the message really quick and that could be that.

I think that sign was indecent. I think Carrefour caved in to the worst possible “counter” prejudice.

There was a rather strong article in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago. The basic argument was that it is a must for global civilization to find ways to sponsor, prop up, help the moderate Muslims as this type of hysteria against Denmark is only favoring petty tyrants that use such tactics to regain the support that they cannot preserve just based on their rule.

I can understand that argumente since it is exactly what Chavez is doing, to try to distract the hoi polloi by inventing imaginary threats and cavorting with the outmost undesirable people, when not committing ethnic lapsus. Chavez is starting on that dangerous road and when he sees that it sorts of work for a while there will be no stopping him in his invented US hatred, alliance with Iranian nukes and all forms of machismo, homophobia, anti Semitism and what not. So what will Carrefour or Nestle do then, when Chavez starts a mass hysteria on some trumped up charge? Pull from the shelves its US / Israeli / Gay-designer /Colombian / Jewish-sounding / UK / Mexican/etc artifacts?

It will take more than the banned Lego blocks to rebuild trust lost after such shameless manipulations.

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