Sunday, April 6, 2008

Absolut Treason

Absolut Vodka has run an advertisement in Mexico showing the U.S.A. and Mexico with their pre 1848 borders, which included almost the entire western United States in a "greater Mexico". Many members of Mexican nationalist groups such as Aztlan advocate such a border adjustment. According to an article which ran in today's L.A. Times, the advertisement was meant to run in and appeal to Mexican consumers. In a global market, however it is difficult for a trans national company to conceal its activities in different markets. In direct contrast to the warmth with which the ad campaign has been received in Mexico is the chilly reception it has gotten in the United States, especially in parts of the Southwest with large numbers of illegal immigrants. To this day, resentments linger among many Mexicans over the loss of "their" territories which were but thinly populated with Spaniards. The reaction of Indians, who suffer pervasive discrimination in Mexico to this day was not reported. It should be noted that on neither side of the Mexican American border did indigenous peoples enjoy statutory equality.
In the middle east, of course, dueling with maps has been a popular past time. Israel, which was likewise a comparative wasteland in the early part of the last century is now coveted by its neighbours. Many of the countries that meet regularly in the United Nations have citizens within their borders who do not colour the map of their native land as do other citizens.
France has a restive Corsicans, bombing an occasional post office with a restraint that is praised by some in our bloodthirsty times. Great Britain has been tormented with the questions of both Northern Ireland and Scottish nationalism. Russia has been afflicted with a secession war in Chechenya which they are afraid will create a precedent which will unstitch the ethnic patchwork quilt of the Russian Republic. China has not only Tibet but also independence minded Turkic Muslims within its borders. I have only mentioned in passing the dissatisfaction of ethnic groups within the borders of the five permanent member states of the U.N. security council. The cause of brevity would not be served by broadening my scope to the entire membership of the United Nations.
It is hard to ignore the indifference to national interests that is manifest in the behavior of international corporations. Although far more benign than Ford Motor Company's activities during World war Two, Absolut's campaign is a clear reminder that international corporations owe their primary allegiance to themselves alone.
Since Israel's neighbours frown upon the consumption of alcohol, they are unlikely to become embroiled in Absolut's cartographic pandering. Despite the official shunning of vodka by Islamic fundamentalists, if an Absolut Israel , expanded to its full biblical borders were to be featured in an Absolut campaign, it is certain that a crushing consumer boycott of Absolut vodka would sweep the Islamic world.
What is to be learned from Absolut's difficulties with its American market? In our global age , it is hard to keep an ad campaign local. It is also hard to keep double standards in the field of international law. In the age of cyberspace, every "liberation" movement that wants to redraw maps and rewrite history has its own website.
If Israel is faced with the pressing demands of Russia, France or the United States to redraw its borders how should Israel answer them? It should read to them from the pages of their own respective histories to bring Absolut(e) clarity to the discussion

Copyright 2008 by Magdeburger Joe Article about Absolut ad

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