In a reminder of how some issues (especially in Jordan) can quickly become overkill, there was an article today in the Jordan Times about “Danish products returning to supermarket shelves”. I laughed at the title because I haven’t thought about the issue for over 2 months. To me the boycotts represented our incompetence to full understand the problem and address it through proper channels. It was the difference between aiming patiently at a target and taking an Ak-47 and just spraying the whole scene with bullets hoping one will hit.
Some interesting (i.e. sad and funny) parts of the article included the following:
The official attributed SafewayÃ¢??s decision to end the boycott to a religious decree issued by an Islamic scholar.
This is what it comes down to folks. A society, nay, an economy, dependent on religious decrees from Islamic “scholars”. Imagine, a corporation like Safeway being told what to sell according to religious decrees. Religious macro-economics in a free trade environment; what could possibly go wrong?
Here’s something else:
Smaller outlets have also reintroduced Danish goods to their customers, who Ã¢??have been showing unusual interest in the products.Ã¢?Â
Ã¢??Some customers were curious about the Danish products. It seems the much talked-about issue had a positive result for some items,Ã¢?Â said Ali Futnassi, 42, a cashier at Balqa supermarket near the University of Jordan.
He said sales of the products jumped by almost 25 per cent compared to the period before the ban.
Sigh. Another reason why boycotts never work. This is what happens when you deprive the people of their Lurpak butter dammit, they go on an uncontrollable raging binge diet. I blame globalization.
The article was also a reminder of some of the stupidity which ensued particularly in Jordan. For example, the two Jordanian editors who made the idiotic mistake of printing the cartoons and, not to be out-done, the stupid mistake the government made when it briefly jailed them before releasing them on bail pending their trial. It raised a brief debate about freedom of press in Jordan, which as anyone can see, has been taking some bureaucratic beatings (specifically with regards to this issue).
Oh but wait, here’s my favorite part:
Ã¢??I was very angry about the cartoons and I will never accept it at all, but we have conveyed our message loud and clear. I think this should stop,Ã¢?Â said Ali Abul Rahman, a 49-year-old businessman.
But Deputy Mahmoud Kharabsheh (Balqa First District) believes Jordanians and Muslims should continue with the boycott until the Danish government Ã¢??apologises clearly.Ã¢?Â
Ã¢??Our only weapon is to boycott… They only understand the language of money and that is how we should communicate with them,Ã¢?Â Kharabsheh told The Jordan Times.
He called on fellow citizens to Ã¢??be stronger than temptations and persist with the boycott.Ã¢?Â
Yes ladies and gentlemen, I believe people actually voted for this guy. “They only understand the language of money”?! I guess an angry ‘shocked and appalled’ letter to the editor wouldnÃ¢??t have sufficed? Someone needs to work on their communication skills. In my mind this was translated to: “dogs only understand the language of being beaten with a stick, so to train them you have to beat the crap out of them”. Well there’s a politician who’ll never work at the Foreign Ministry (I hope).
Anyways, while IÃ¢??m still obviously against the publication of those cartoons, IÃ¢??ve now developed an adverse reaction whenever I hear the word Ã¢??boycottÃ¢?Â and Ã¢??JordanÃ¢?Â in the same sentence. I conjure an image of a cowboy in a showdown that eagerly pulls his gun out of the holster a bit too quickly and shoots himself in the foot. And in most cases what is accomplished is the exact opposite of the initial goal.