|A War on Coke?
North Korea thumbing its nose at the U.S.? Missionaries
killed in Yemen? All this happens on the 2nd Eve of
Vigilance, foreshadowing a New Year of fighting Terrorism on all
fronts. How do we best handle our War On Terrorism in
2003? Let's look and see how the attack of Mecca-Cola is
leading us toward Vigilance.
31, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 475
The 2nd New Year's Eve Of Vigilance--Attack Of Mecca-Cola
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, Dec. 31-- It is the
second New Year's Eve of Vigilance.
The smoke and fires from Ground Zero have
disappeared. The stench of burning bodies no longer fills the air.
The ground where 2,800 people died on September 11 is being bulldozed
to make room for new monuments , and attempt to tuck the past of
Terror into a corner of history. The future marches on.
But not without Terrorism dancing in its jetstream.
New Year's Eve
in Times Square NYC 2001
--The First Eve of Vigilance--
New Year's Eve Of Vigilance was stark, frightening.
Millions walked around in a state of shock, minds and bodies dazed by
America's vulnerability to the whim and wiles of a small band of
Terrorists who proved Goliath could be brought to his knees.
It has been 394 days ago
that we celebrated the First New Year's of Vigilance. The
year 2002 hallmarked the Birth of Vigilance. It was an
historic moment, representing the formation of the Sentinels of
Vigilance who hover above Ground Zero -- a Circle of Souls of all
those who perished on Nine Eleven---standing guard, eternally watching
the horizon, ready to alert all the Parents and Citizens of Vigilance
that the Beast of Terror is coming to stalk their children, and their
children's children's children whether they like it or not, for the
War on Terrorism never ends, regardless of who hangs from the yardarm.
Back at the Dawn of Vigilance we were hunting Osama bin Laden.
He represented the "Head of the Beast of Terror." We
agreed to lop off his head and roll it down the streets of America, a
symbol of the "Don't Tread On Me" philosophy that has
intimidated all who threaten Liberty's homeland since the last
incursion of foreign warriors in War of
1812. That Intimidation held strong until 8:46 a.m., Tuesday,
September 11, 2001. Osama's face loomed at the "enemy." He
became America's behemoth.
No one can pin down the exact
time or place it happened, but somewhere along the path of hunting
Osama we lost his scent, and, frustrated for a face to match the
heinous crimes, we turned our sights to Saddam Hussein.
those of us watching, it is like viewing a great boxing match between
Mohammed Ali and George Foreman. In the middle of the fourth
round we scratch our heads and lean forward in our seats. George
Foreman morphs suddenly into Sonny Liston. We start to get
up and protest and then sink back in our seats, realizing we
paid to see a fight, to watch blood splatter, to hail the victor when
it's over. Ultimately, who is in the ring bashing the others
brain to mush doesn't matter. What matters is the letting of
blood, retribution, retaliation. So we sit back and stuff
popcorn in our mouths, watch, root and cheer.
....an old but
new Target of Terror
The War on Terrorism wave grew larger than larger than our appetites this
past year. Bellicose threats by President George Bush rang
over the chorus of U.N. chants for negotiating a peace with Iraq.
Mid-term elections in the U.S. heated the pot. Republicans
attacked Democrats as being un-American, claiming if they didn't extol the
virtues of crushing Saddam Hussein's head, or call for the
obliteration of the most prominent head of the "evil axis" they
were somehow linked with al-Qaeda, sympathizers of Terrorism.
For a few moments in 2002, it appeared that
America was going to rush into Iraq and spill blood equal to or
greater than that which gushed out at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and
Flight 93 on Nine Eleven. For an instant, prior to the
U.S. going along with the U.N. weapons inspectors resolution,
America's hostility stock peaked. Around Thanksgiving,
Americans were eager to attack and destroy Iraq. Osama bin Laden
had become Saddam Hussein.
The storms of war boiled overhead. Everyone
was ready for Gulf War II, commanded by George Bush, Jr.
Then North Korea 'dropped trou' and wagged its
naked buttocks in America's face.
picture of a North Korean nuclear facility
Korea shouted to the world
that it had nuclear weapon capability, and in defiance of the nuclear
non-proliferation treaty, was going to kick out the international
weapons inspectors and return to the task of building nuclear bombs.
It allegedly has two so far, and is bent on building five more.
Suddenly, America's rear echelon was under
attack. With all its forces facing Iraq, all its strategies
measured to garner world support for invading and decimating Saddam
Hussein, North Korea steps into the Terrorism ring.
Suddenly, America has to spin around and face a second threat, one far
more ominous than Iraq. Mohammed Ali was now in the ring with George
Foreman and Sonny Liston, both of them delivering brutal punches to
his front and back.
North Korea is a rogue nation.
Its greatest ally at the moment is South Korea. Russia
ignores North Korea as though it didn't exist. China wants
nothing to do with a war in North Korea for fear its refugees will
seek shelter under China's protection and refutes any hostilities that
might burden China's stretched resources.
Japan is looking at 11,000 missiles
aimed its way, and can't fathom the U.S. protecting it while fighting
a war in Iraq. There is no NATO in Asia to bring
collective forces to protect the area.
So Korea flags its defiance with impunity.
It dares the U.S. to preemptively attack its nuclear production site,
thrusting out its bully chest as a bargaining tool to gain economic
concessions and to remove sanctions placed on its crippled economy by
America and the West who proclaim it a member of the "evil axis."
Critics of American Mideast policy rail
that the war on Iraq is driven by a thirst for its oil, and an ethnic
war to support Israel, and spit at the U.S. for being two-faced
because Iraq is bowing to the U.N. inspection demands while North
Korea is kicking out the weapons inspectors and fueling up its nuclear
America has its unilateral testicles caught
in the vice.
expelled from North Korea
North Korea is
But that's just the surface, the tip of the
A far more devastating retaliation is
underfoot, one that signals the growing animosity about America's War
on Terrorism and the dangers of trying to fight Bullyism with
The new Osama bin Laden of Terrorism in the
coming year is 46-year-old Tawfik Mathlouthi, a Muslim who lives in
France and runs a radio station for France's Muslim minority.
He's attacking an icon far greater than the
Twin Towers, the Pentagon, the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, or
the Lincoln Memorial.
He's attacking Coca-Cola.
In November, he launched a new product
called Mecca-Cola. It looks like Coke, it smells like Coke, but
it doesn't taste like Coke. It has no Western profiteering
aftertaste. It goes down the gullet with a true anti-American,
anti-capitalism, anti-Western ease.
Mathlouthi, who immigrated to France from
Tunisia in 1971, has sold more than a million bottles. He is
being deluged with orders from around the world--Britain, Belgium,
Germany, California, Florida, New York--by Muslims who do not want to
feed American profits.
The label for the product, written in
Arabic, pronounces that ten percent of the profit on every bottle will
be donated to a Palestinian children's fund and that a further 10
percent goes to a local charity. The New York Times
reported today that South African officials had also contacted him,
desirous of channeling the additional 10 percent to groups that work
with AIDS-infected children.
Cola - not Coca Cola
For a number of
years Muslims have called for boycotts of American
products--especially fast food companies. Mathlouthi and a group
of investors are planning to oust Kentucky Fried Chicken with a rival
product called Hallal Fried Chick, HFC. The first outlet
is scheduled to open in Egypt.
The Middle Eastern Cola War is not
new. When Ayatollah Khomeini took over Iran with his
revolutionary government, he kicked out American businesses. To
sate the thirst of his people, the country produced Zam Zam Cola, a
replacement for Pepsi. The Times reported that in four
months this past summer, Zam Zam delivered more than 10 million
bottles to sweltering Saudi Arabia after a Saudi boycott of Coke and
Pepsi. But fearing competition for its own brand, Iran rejected
an offer to distribute Mecca-Cola, carefully manufactured to taste
exactly like Coke but with less sugar.
profits are donated
Terrorist Attacks have worked. Alexander B. Cummings Jr.,
president of Coca-Cola Africa, told analysts in October that "our
business in these countries has been hurt by the boycotting of
Coke's army of lawyers are
laying low regarding the striking similarity to Mecca-Cola's label and
that of Coke. When asked if Coke was going to take legal
action against Mecca-Cola, Cummings said: "Our lawyers are aware
of it, absolutely. But I don't believe there's a decision to
take legal action."
Coke's stance sounds
similar to the U.S. hand-off policy with North Korea.
What most people don't
realize is that Coke is the number one brand name worldwide. No
other product on the globe has as much brand recognition as Coca-Cola.
It is the mother of all icons. Attacking Coke is attacking
everything America stands for.
But there is light
at the end of the tunnel regarding the War On Coke Terrorism.
I was impressed by
Mathlouthi's (aka Osama bin Laden Of Coke), comments regarding
launching the competing if not plagiaristic product.
is the father of two young boys. When he asked his sons to
boycott using American products such as Coke, his 10-year-old son was
chagrined. Mathlouthi says it was his son's comment that
inspired him to create Mecca-Cola. They young boy told
him: "Papa, I agree not to drink Coke, but you have to give me
"don't drink foolishly, drink engaged"
Mathlouthi did. He gave him a competition product that
tasted just as good, but was politically charged.
He is a an advocate of
American business prowess, and convinced that competition is the key
to growth. "I am influenced by the United States and its
dynamism," he said. "But I have the right to refuse the dictates
of American policy, like any American who opposes the administration's
He also says he's against
violence. "We have to bring the United States to be a partner,"
he said, "not a guardian. America is the foster parent of the
Arab world, and the Arab peoples are like minors under the
guardianship of the United States."
There is a part of me
that wants to salute Mathlouthi for being Vigilant in his approach to
fighting America. He's offering an alternative that
doesn't require bloodshed. Drinking Mecca-Cola is a far
better way of refuting American policy than becoming a suicide bomber
or flying a plane into the World Trade Center.
He's also an
advocate his product produces jobs and creates value, and that
economic power is far more important than political or military power.
While the jury is
still out on Mecca-Cola, and the odds are that Coke will one day
launch a lawsuit for trademark infringement, the current status is all
green lights for Mecca-Cola.
If the Middle East
uses American prosperity as a role model for enhancing its citizens
prosperity, then perhaps Mecca-Cola is a far more important weapon
against Terrorism than bombs and bullets.
Brutal economic sanctions
against North Korea and Iraq have done little to deter their
despotism. Some argue it has fertilized the soil for the rise of
dictators who can point at America as the cause of social and economic
ills rather than at their own records of mismanaging their countries.
is Director of Radio Mediterranean Radio
Mecca-Cola could be an
economic warhead that serves to promote Vigilance and destroy
Terrorism rather than just another attack on Westernization.
Time will tell.
So, the New Year
Many things have
happened this year, but one thing has not changed.
Vigilance is still the only true weapon that will destroy Terrorism.
Vigilance, the sum of
one's Courage, Conviction and Right Actions to the benefit of the
children's children's children can be seen in Mecca-Cola.
Mathlouthi had to face the Fear of failure when he launched his
product. He had to overcome the Intimidation of Coca-Cola, and sought
to take the Right Actions--to distribute a portion of the profits to
He also doesn't
proclaim America as a source of evil. Rather, he looks
upon it as a blueprint from which he and others can copy and adjust to
fit the needs of his market--the Muslim world.
The great idea of
Vigilance is that people come together from different backgrounds and
cultures and work as one to the benefit of the children's children's
children. It seems Mecca-Cola is leading that parade
as we are about to pass through the Second Eve of Vigilance.
Dec. 30--What Are You Willing To Die For?
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