Tuesday, March 21, 2006

"Arla’s falling on its knees for muslims is pathetic" says Liberalist party spokesman Rohde

The liberalist Party (Venstre) and the Danish People’s Party now make a vehement criticism of Arla for letting them down in the fight for freedom of expression.

That happens after the dairy giant in ads in Arab papers last weekend expressed respect and understanding for the fact that millions of Muslim consumers will no longer buy the company’s cheese and butter because of the Mohammed drawings. The purpose of the ad offensive is to get the muslim consumers to accept Arla’s dairy products again. But according to The Liberalists’ spokesman Jens Rohde in conservative Copenhagen daily Berlingske Tidende today, the ads are a “pathetic knee-fall” to the angry muslims.

“Arla is ready to sell its grandmother to sell its goods in dictatorships. I can by no, no means understand that they can deal so lightly with our principles. My freedom rights are not for sale for two litres of milk,” says Jens Rohde who by that token – unlike prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen – again labels a company which The Liberalists think lets freedom of expression down.

The chairperson of the DPP Pia Kjaersgaard is also adamant in her condemnation of Arla. “Morally and ethically I do not like such submission to the Arab world as the ad expresses. I certainly don’t. It’s very unsympathetic”, Pia Kjaersgaard says.
“It sends very bad signals about how in that situation we bow into the dust and submit ourselves to their reactions. Arla says that they understand the boycott. We should neither understand it, nor accept it,” she says.

At Arla’s which has so far lost 60 mio. $ on the boycott – chief of press Louis Illum Honoré is firm as to it having been wise to express understanding for the muslim boycott. “After 40 years in the Middle East we understand that muslims feel offended by the drawings. We understand, and thus we also understand that they try to express their anger at the drawings by boycotting us, among others”, Louis Illum Honoré says. He emphasises that Arla is fully on the side of freedom of expression: “But we also think that tolerance to other people’s cultural background and religion is an important part of Danish democracy. It’s important to find a balance between these two fundamental pillars.”

Pia Kjaersgaard also goes after another of the very big companies in Denmark, Grundfos. The president of the pump corporation, Niels Due Jensen, yesterday said that the close cooperation between the government and the DPP harms both Danish business and Denmark’s reputation abroad to a disastrous degree.
“I think it is very rude. And insolence usually falls back on people. I wonder if Niels Due Jensen is a member of the Social Liberals,” says Pia Kjaersgaard.

Arla’s ad:
With a forty year long history and being an active and integral part of society, we understand why you feel offended…. That is why we understand and respect your reaction, which has led to a boycott of our products after this irresponsible and sad incident.”
(Inserted in 25 Arab papers in the Middle East).


Blogger Sophia said...

The neo-cons wanted to bring europeans in their fight against Islam by radicalising europeans against their muslim populations of immigrants. because mulsims arrived rcently as immigrants to europe (compared to other immigrations), they are not fully integrated yet. Moreover, Danemark was a very good starting point to provoke muslims because of its rightist, xenophobic government.
The neo-cons are without scrupules. They are determined to carry, on behalf of Israel, a global war against Islam, so human right activists will be alienated in the wrong fight and Israel can carry on destructing the fabric of palestinian society and of arab and muslim societies at large in order to continue ignoring realities on the ground which necessitate an imminent peace deal and justice for palestinians. Zionists prefer destructing the world instead of making the concession of a viable two states solution or even of a democratic non ethnic one state for all because both of them are contrary to the initial zionist project which rests on two non viable premises: 1) There are no arabs in Palestine and 2) Israel must be a jewish state. The first premise has proven to be false but zionists can fabricate a reality on the ground that makes this premise true. The second premise was going to become completely false before Sharon decided to withdraw some colonies from Gaza. Haaretz reproted at the time that by 2020 arabs were going to outnumber jews, so Sharon's withdrawal from Gaza is only a calculation for maintaining the jewishness of Israel without making any real concession for a viable palestinian state.

Sometimes, I think that the war in Iraq had only the objective of distracting people from what is going on in Palestine and radicalising the west against Islam. There were some side benefits of course for Halliburton but mainly, american citizens and the world did not benefit from this war which will be extending its destruction to the middle east and its arab and muslim population.

The neo-cons are also making the entire world pay for their ideological project in the middle east and I find silly the reactions of Danish politicians to the apologies made by Arla. Will the neo-cons pay Arla for its loss ? Or Arla has to endure this loss in the name of neo-con ideology ?

I am distressed by this because I see no hope for the immediate future.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Steven said...

I feel sorry for Arla and Arla employees in the current state of affairs.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Duck said...

You're right. It's a pity that several hundred workers in Arla companies in Denmark have lost their jobs because of this utterly silly matter.

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But how come was Maersk never boycotted? How much did they pay and to whom?

9:36 AM  

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