I was chatting on the phone yesterday with a friend of mine living in one of the Persian Gulf States. He was particularly chuffed at how cheap this week’s grocery shop was, now that so much European dairy produce has been ‘priced to go’. Apparently, he has a fridge full of Lurpak.
He was also telling me about all the shops in the Middle East that had named themselves after Denmark even though they had no Danish connection; Danish Dairies, Copenhagen Coffee Bars, that sort of thing, because so many people had this mental image of Denmark as an open minded, progressive kind of place.
And then there’s that whole Scandinavian flags all looking very similar business. Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, even Switzerland - I always get them mixed up and I’ll be willing to wager more than a few jihadists are going to have a similar problem.
Yes, all things considered, now would seem to be an excellent time to start that Middle East based sign writing and flag printing business you always wanted to. I understand quite a few retail outlets are bringing their plans for image makeovers forward a little.
But, hang on. Maybe that isn’t such a good idea. Maybe there's already too much competition.
As my friend pointed out, there are several aspects of the recent Islamic protests against the Danish cartoons that are somewhat peculiar
First off, the demonstrations are being spread out over several days. One day they’re in Beirut, the next day they’re in Jakarta. Which works out awfully well for the media as they get a new outbreak of apparent mayhem to report on every day.
And then there’s all those flags, those lovely pristine Danish flags.
Well, I have to say, their apparently bounteous availability in places like the Gaza Strip and the West Bank certainly flies in the face of my preconceptions of what those places are like. For years now I’ve been taken in by images of those places that portray them as run down, economic shit holes with barely a shop in sight.
But, no, they are clearly thriving hubs of commerce just teeming with specialist flag emporiums that even stock flags from really pissy little countries like Denmark...
It only shows how wrong you can be sometimes.