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.


Tuesday--December 31, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 475
 The 2nd New Year's Eve Of Vigilance--Attack Of Mecca-Cola

Cliff McKenzie
   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--

        The first 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.

Wanted poster morphed to...

         For 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. 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.

Satellite 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 production engines.
       America has its unilateral testicles caught in the vice.

Inspectors expelled from North Korea

       North Korea is squeezing them.
       But that's just the surface, the tip of the iceberg.
       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 Bullyism.
       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.

Drink Mecca 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.

Percentages of profits are donated

        The Coke 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 American brands."
         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.
           Tawfik Mathlouthi 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 something."

Label reads "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 policies."
          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.

 Mathlouthi  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 Clock ticks.
           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 the children.
           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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