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Friday, August 8, 2008

Arafat Snacks and Boycotting American Products

Note: This article "Exhibit: An Arafat Snack Attack" I found in English in Mother Jones.

It made me curious though, so I did a little more googling and came up with the article below this which was originally in Italian. I used Google language tool to translate it (which is not perfect by any means) but you can get the gist of it. Interestingly, I have seen nothing in the US MSM that the Arab world is successfully boycotting US products, it seems very successfully from what is written.

Should we be surprised? Absolutely not! With US foreign policy running amok in the Arab world we shouldn't be surprised at all! Remember back folks to the lead up to the Iraq war, France was NOT standing by the United States (as well they shouldn't have). Do you remember? People wanted to rename "French fries" and boycott French products. It is an act of collective civil disobedience, non-violent, and what better way to send the message to the US that our foreign policy isn't acceptable.

I just wonder why the MSM here hasn't reported this.

Exhibit: An Arafat Snack Attack

September/October 2002 Issue

Arafat Snack #

An Arafat Snack Attack

The streets of Cairo have seen plenty of demonstrations for the Palestinian cause, but now they have taken on a new flavor. An enterprising Egyptian snack company has introduced an unlikely hit -- Yasser Arafat cheesy poofs.

The snack is called Abu Ammar, the Palestinian leader's nom de guerre. The bag pictures Arafat in his trademark black-and-white kaffiyeh and green military uniform, looking a bit more portly than usual (maybe too many cheesy poofs). "Hand in hand, we are building our future. The more you buy, the more you build," the bag reads. Al Jawhara, the Cairo company that manufactures the snacks, is aiming them primarily at kids. And Al Jawhara executive Mahmoud Farid says that the company hopes "to introduce the Palestinian issue to the largest amount of people possible."

Each bag of Abu Ammar costs around 5 cents and approximately 2 percent of the proceeds are donated to the Palestinians through the Egyptian Red Crescent. So far, thousands of dollars have been donated, Farid says, although charity is not the only reason for the snack's appeal. Cairo shopkeeper Said Hegazy says,"Some people buy these because of Palestine. Some people buy them because they taste so good." -- Sarah Gauch

Now for the Italian article: (google language tool translation-a rather choppy translation)

Children Egyptians have become gluttonous of a new snack: crisps of Abu Ammar, the name of the battle of Yasser Arafat. Launched on the market two months and a half ago by the Egyptian al-Jawhara, who until then had produced only tea are proving very successful, not only among the very young. They are available in three flavors: cheese, tomato and paprika.

On one side of caricature of a package that Arafat salutes with the kefiah and the unmistakable military jacket. The balloon does not speak, so the caption: "batal to nidal", "hero of the resistance". On the other side of the pack, under the Palestinian flag, the explanation commercial: "Hand in hand, we build our future. The more you buy, build more."

Like any patatina that respects Moreover, even those of Abu Ammar have their surprise: inside any package is a coupon entitling a T-shirt with the image of the Al Aqsa mosque or other monuments of Jerusalem.

"This is a message directed primarily at children," says Ali Ghineim, manager of al-Jawhara, "to know the Palestinian cause and the right of a people brother to live in peace in their own land".

The Abu Ammar chips are one of the first attempts to transform into operation marketing campaign to boycott U.S. products and Israelis launched months ago across the Arab world. Rather than simply ask not to buy Nike, Coca Cola, Pringles, Johnson, Milestone Power, 7Up, Arab companies are beginning to promote alternative products to those Americans who have fattened entire generations in the Middle East condizionandone tastes so indelible.

Medhat Koraytem, Executive Director of al-Jawhara says that with the invention "of chips" have opened new spaces in the market, although unfortunately can not yet be filled by Palestinian products. On the other hand, sell products and Arabs also serves mainly to help the Palestinian cause ...". A packet of crisps Arafat coast just 25 plates (just over 5 euro cents) but Mahmoud Farid, industry sales of al - Jawhara, can not say exactly how much of the proceeds is intended to Palestine.

Leave understood that the company follows a flexible policy: depends on "the emergency" or by any Israeli offensive. "But a substantial amount of funds", assures, " has already arrived in the Occupied Territories, thanks to the logistical support provided by the Red Crescent.

"Meanwhile the campaign to boycott products of U.S. imports (or other origin, but whose proceeds will be invested in Israel) is spreading to stain d ' oil especially in Egypt. Backed by religious leaders, parliamentarians, trade unionists and professional associations, was promoted by the left and by many student networks, both secular and religious (fixture on Friday at the university of Al Azhar for the sermon of Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawi) and various organisations who define themselves as "underground" preferring to remain anonymous.

The spread can not rely on open media campaigns and boycotts then passes through flyers, e-mail bombing and messaggini sms. The phenomenon is so widespread even among the average bourgeois housewives and families who love yet defined "high society" cairota. The media official visas are forced to spend several services on talk shows American style, to explain to the public "all the pros and cons": movements market and the boomerang effect that could fall on the local economy, but also the importance of solidarity and the difference between a neo-mujahedin ready to leave for jihad in the Holy Land and concrete financial aid sent to Palestine.

Difficult estimate because the boycott had an impact in the region, the U.S. import market. Hassan el Tamimi, owner of a large supermarket in Cairo, ensures that in the last two months his store has experienced a decline in sales of American products by at least 6O %: "All products have been affected by Kellog's to Pepsi, up to cigarettes. So we decided not to order more American goods, because there remains unsold on the shelves. "

Even then he started to source their products Arabs: Jordanian muesli, cereals and biscuits Egyptians of Bisco Masr, fruit juices and cigarettes local Tunisians, the terrible Cleopatra. And in a few more European product: a detergent English, for example, has replaced the famous Ariel, distributed by Procter and Gamble.

But Egypt is not the only country in the region involved in the boycott. In Jordan, Syria and Lebanon some hospitals have stopped ordering U.S. medicines. In Baharein, historical U.S. and allied military base for the fifth fleet of U.S. navy, the supermarket chain al-Muntaza has returned to the sender import U.S. products with a value of one million dollars. Always the small island in the Gulf a few weeks ago has begun to import the Zam Zam Cola, the Iranian alternative to Coke.

While the traffic lights in Cairo, for months there are no longer the washer: the crossroads of several busy streets are full of boys who sell Palestinian flags, kefiah, posters of Al Aqsa and planting of the Territories in an effort to scrape together funds to be sent in Palestine and coloring the streets of the capital Egyptian red, green, white and black.

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