Saturday, February 11, 2006

Muslim Boycotts of All Things Dane Are Wrecking Danish Exporters


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

The boycott of Danish goods has gathered steam and is drawing real blood now. This is a very popular boycott, not one sponsored by the rulers of the greater mass of Muslims but is genuinely from the grass roots. The Danish Prime Minister is bemused by all this but remains unrepentant.

From the Washington Post:
The Arla Foods plant in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which produces cheese and flavored yogurt drinks, sits idle and the company's 800 employees in the country have been sent home because of a Middle East boycott of Danish goods, following a Danish newspaper's publication of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.

"It took us 40 years to build up our business in the Middle East, and five days to bring it to a total stop," said Astrid Nielsen, spokeswoman for the Danish company here. She said suspending operations at the Riyadh plant, the company's regional base, and a near-total boycott of the company's products have cost Arla about $1.7 million a day since Jan. 28.

The boycott of Danish goods, propelled by Muslim leaders and imams preaching in mosques, has brought exports of Danish products to the Middle East and North Africa to a virtual standstill. It has scuttled a flow of goods to the region that was worth about $1 billion in the first 10 months of 2005, according to government statistics.
Eventually, this will extend to boycotting everything from the European and American alliance. We worked hard to draw Europe into our latest imperialist ventures and this is biting back, hard. The Europeans do much more trade with the Muslim world than we do, simple relative distance as well as shared past from the earlier colonial days.

Ghandi's famous nonviolent actions wouldn't have bothered the Brits one bit except one of his top tools he used was the boycott. This got the British rulers very angry and it is what got him put in prison. Martin Luther King's favorite tool wasn't nonviolent being beaten up type things, it was...boycotts! This and only this makes others stop what they are doing and forces them to change! They don't care about anyone singing "We shall overcoooooome." They worry about "We shall not BUY."

If the Danish Prime Minister had condemned mocking Allah and apologized and then made some nice gesture like saying, "Invading Muslim lands is a bad idea and we call upon America to withdraw all troops from the Middle East," then there would have been no boycott.

The fury that all this has unleashed always lurked below the surface waiting for something to trigger it. One can't boycott everything which is why only one item at a time or one country is selected for a demonstration of collective power. For example, Ghandi, a lawyer and very smart, pondered for some time before selecting salt as the first item to be boycotted. This lead to his famous "March to the Sea" to use seawater to make salt instead of buying it from the imperial government.

Whatever one thinks about Muslim society such as the restrictions on civil rights for women and others, blungeoning them over the head is a whacked way to change anything. Liberalism spreads because it is the logical and sane way to do things, one sets examples, one organizes, one reaches out.

I have spent years, reaching out to Muslim women. I have even had the honor of being invited into a Mosque once to talk about all this. I used to bring my children with me on these ventures. In NYC, I spoke with and to more than one Muslim group. Building bridges is a delicate operation and one that we should all be doing, not burning bridges.

The Muslims are burning their bridges with us only because we are using them to march in and steal stuff!

Just like with India or China: when we work together, we get along.

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