Malaysian Muslim eateries plan boycott of American goods
More than 2,000 Muslim restaurants in Malaysia will remove Coca-Cola from their
menus as part of a boycott of American products in protest against Israel's
bombardment of Gaza, officials said Wednesday.
American companies are being
targeted because of the US Government's support of Israel, which is carrying out
a military offensive on Gaza that is says is aimed at stopping rocket attacks
from the Hamas-controlled territory.
The nationwide boycott will be launched
Friday by several Muslim groups after they seek God's blessings at Friday
prayers, said Ma'mor Osman, secretary-general of the Malaysian Muslim Consumers
Association which is leading the campaign.
In addition to Coca-Cola, he said
they have identified some 100 other products ranging from food to beauty and
clothing such as Starbucks, Colgate, McDonald's and Maybelline.
Israeli offensive began, nearly 600 Palestinians, about half of them civilians,
have been killed and at least 2,500 people injured, according to UN and
Palestinian officials. Eleven Israelis have also been killed.
Malaysia and worldwide have held demonstrations against the Israeli action but
Ma'mor said such protests are futile.
"A boycott is the best way for us to
protest Zionist cruelty against the Palestinian people as consumers can weaken
the economy of countries like Israel and its ally, the United States," he
"We urge everybody who loves peace and is against war to support our
campaign. We must send a clear signal to Israel to stop the assaults in Gaza,"
Some 2,600 restaurants under the Association of Muslim Restaurant
Operators will stop selling Coca-Cola from Friday, he added.
The move came
after former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, a strident critic of Israel, last
week urged consumers and governments to boycott American products and the US
Israel sent troops and tanks into Hamas-controlled Gaza on Saturday
after a weeklong aerial bombardment, sparking outrage among Muslims
Malaysia's government, which has no diplomatic ties with Israel,
has denounced Israel's ground offensive as "an act of total war" which cannot be
The United States has also been criticized for blocking approval
of a UN Security Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire between
Israel and Hamas. -- AP
Now, this is not the first time a Malay organization has called for a boycott such as this. I still remember them calling for a boycott of Coca-Cola. After all that, I remember talking to a branding expert and he said that was a demonstration of the power of one's brand. Coca-Cola has always been identified as an all American brand, one of the essence of USA. Now, how come no one ever boycotts Pepsi or even Burger King instead of McDonalds only?
Today, I walked into my office and on the wall, someone has pasted a list of brands they should boycott. Among the list was Intel and I scanned the list, there was no AMD on it. A group of my colleagues were also crowded around saying how we should all boycott American products. I then said very loudly to all of them maybe you should all throw away your HP and Compaq notebooks, me I bought a Taiwanese brand.
The truth is, most of the brands (especially the fast moving consumer goods) are intertwined with our economy. Take for example Coca-Cola. In Malaysia it's produced by F&N Coca-Cola Malaysia Sdn Bhd. Most of their employees here are Malaysians. As for their minority shareholders, the last time I checked it was our own Employees Provident Fund (EPF). If their sales take a huge dive, there will be major layoffs and in this bad economic times we don't need anymore layoffs. EPF will also post lower returns and in the end, this boycott will probably hurt us more than it will hurt Coca-Cola.
I remember when there was a call to boycott Dutch products and Dutch Lady held a press conference begging consumers not to boycott their products saying exactly almost the same thing. The majority shareholders are Malaysians and so are their employees.
My take on this is, if I really want to boycott American products there are a few criterias the product has to meet first:
1. Is the product solely manufactured in USA? My Iphone is made in China. I love China, and I don't want those poor Chinese factory workers to loose their jobs. If it's products that are solely manufactured in USA then okay, I won't buy their products anymore. As for Intel and AMD, their processors are made in Penang and China now. I'll still buy it (Intel, not AMD because Intel Core 2 Duo rocks!)
2. Is the company opposed to the war. For all I know, Bill Gates is opposing the war and is actively campaigning to end the bombings. Anyway, a lot of people use pirated Microsoft products so it doesn't matter.
3. Does the company have direct relations with Israel? I remember a news report saying that our police has contracted Israeli nationals to provide their computer systems. Boycott the police then? I know ICQ used to be an Israeli company. Now that they're with AOL I'm not sure if they still have ties with them.
Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad had the best idea, boycott the US Dollar. It's a simple idea, stop using the US dollar as an international currency. We buy and sell crude oil; palm oil all in dollar. I wonder if its possible for Petronas to say from now on, you want to buy our oil, we would quote you in Ringgit. Don't follow the international market price in dollars anymore.
China has one of the largest foreign reserves in the world and most of the foreign currency held is the Dollar. Now what would happen if China just started selling their Dollar? Think about it. The value of the dollar will drop, Americans will have a hard time buying things. Their defence contractor would jack up their price and the American congress would seriously have to consider if they want to raise their defence budget or save their economy.
While we're on their topic, I also think the media is biased. How come no one protested when Hamas was launching home made rockets into Israel? Was that okay to randomly shoot rockets at them? If Hamas didn't provoke the Israeli's I don't think they would want to risk their lives going into Gaza too.
There won't be any easy resolution to this conflict. This conflict will go on and on if both sides decides that the only resolution is to destroy each other. Palestinian children who are being bombed today will grow up holding a grudge against Israeli's. Israeli children who grow up in fear of having to join their army and marching into Gaza would hate the Palestinians and think its best to kill all the Palestinians before they cause future problems.
If only we could take away all their childen from them and form an utopia. Palestinian and Israeli children would be brought up as brothers and sister not known the resentment for each other that their parents have. This new generation once they reach adulthood, can then be brought back to their homeland. From then on the new generation won't have anymore hate in them. Of course, all these is just wishful thinking.
Today, I asked my colleague why these Palestinians want to die for a job who has forgotten about them? He told me a story about the guy who was stuck on his roof during a flood.
There was a man sitting on his roof as there was a huge flood. The water was rising slowly. A small motorboat came by to rescue him and he told the boatman "thats okay, God will save me!". Awhile later, another boat came to rescue him and he said the same thing "Don't worry about me, God will save me!". A third boat came and he still chased away the boat. Finally the water when all the way up and the man drowned. When he reached heaven, he was quite pissed and he asked God why didn't God rescue him. God replied "I tried! I send 3 boats to rescue you but you kept chasing them away!".
I smiled as I have heard this one before. So I told my colleague, maybe God is trying to tell the Palestinian something. Maybe they shouldn't stay there anymore or they shouldn't launch rockets at Israel. They should probably move out of the place and scatter. If they don't want to do that, then they should find a non-violent way to live harmoniously with the Israelis. Stop smuggling weapons in Gaza through Egypt and making home made rockets. The Israelis should also encourage economic ties with the Palestinians. People with jobs won't have time to make home made rockets. Those who have something to loose won't want to treaten their jobs.
The Israelis should also realize you have to use a carrot and stick approach. If you march into Gaza and kick the shit out of the Palestinians, that won't stop the next wave of rocket attacks. If you drop bombs on children and kill civilians, that will just make them more angry. This isn't the first time they marched into Gaza to flatten them. Look at what good that did. They just made more Palestians pissed at them.
Stop dropping bombs on them!
Give them hope, not bombs.
Give them jobs, not death!