Friday, February 26, 2010

The Swiss Are Assholes

Poor Muammar Qaddafi. First, no one can spell his name the same way from year to year. In fact, I'm pretty sure I had to switch spellings during semesters in college once. Also, "Khadafy" looked way cooler, kind of like a split between Wrath of Khan and a blaxsploitation film. Second, he spent a good chunk of the 2000s being a poster boy for the efficacy of the Bush Doctrine after he renounced terrorism. But then he made one nutty UN speech, got a new president who didn't need him to prop up the notion that "the bombs-away system works!" and suddenly he's no longer that necessary.

Third, he can't even beat his servants in a Swiss hotel. What a bunch of bullshit. Look, you don't keep running a shithole like Libya for the money. If you want to run a country with shaky economic development, tribal conflict, violent crime and an arid climate just for the money, eventually you pull a Carlos Salinas de Gortari, rob the company store and set yourself up in a bigass house in Ireland, where there's water, beer and redheads who are reliably crazy in the right room of the house.

No, you run Libya for the perks: getting to use swords, firing guns in the air, buying really old missiles and whaling on dudes. I can't even comprehend how the Swiss don't get that last part. They spent 1300-1550 kicking the shit out of everyone in Europe for the money, mainly jabbing them with sticks. Then they got so bored they spent the next 450 years basically daring anyone to fuck with Popes just for another excuse to do something. The Swiss are assholes.

Which was Qaddafi's point, condemning their government's recent constitutional amendment banning minarets and maybe trying to leverage his way out of a hotel bill. Now, granted, he didn't just condemn a law. This happened:
"The masses of Muslims must go to all airports in the Islamic world and prevent any Swiss plane landing, to all harbors and prevent any Swiss ships docking, inspect all shops and markets to stop any Swiss goods being sold," Gaddafi said.
"Let us fight against Switzerland, Zionism and foreign aggression," said Gaddafi, adding that "this is not terrorism," in contrast with the work of al Qaeda which he called a "kind of crime and a psychological disease."

"There is a big difference between terrorism and jihad which is a right to armed struggle," he said.

Gaddafi accused Switzerland of being an "infidel, obscene state which is destroying mosques," in reference to a Swiss referendum verdict barring construction of minarets.
Now, I'm a realist about this sort of junk. Sure, there's a chance that some people are going to take Muammar seriously, but I hardly think any of them are Swiss. There might be a few misguided jihadists who decide to pilot a shipment of Swatches into Lake Constance or ruthlessly store some chocolates too close to a radiator. But that assumes that any of them care enough to try. As for Libya itself, there's not a lot to worry about. Even the Italians can stop their Navy, and their Air Force is nothing but old MiGs and French fighters pieced together about as well as Jake and Elwood's car by the time they reach Dealey Plaza. He's just fronting.

At this point, language like this is boilerplate. It's the customary middle-eastern rhetorical flourish, in the same way that, yeah, some people from Hamas literally mean "Death to Israel," but far more people find it has a smoother mouth-feel than "Death to a Country Whose National Boundaries Were Established by Immediately Violating the International Treaty That Created It, Then by War, Then By Repeated Violation of Treaties to Which It Was Voluntary Signatory." Or the same way that Likud refers to genocide with "Never Again," instead of the clumsy, "Never Again... to Us—Meanwhile Pay No Mind to the 1.5 Million People in a Walled-Off Sewer and Charnel House Into Which We Allow only 10% of the Necessary Sustainable Food Supplies While Children Are Being Stunted Under Five-Feet Tall and Crippled with Nitrate Poisoning." You know, pithy shit like that.

Hell, even FOX News followed up their jihad lede with this second graf:
Muammar Qaddafi also urged Muslims everywhere to boycott Swiss products and to bar Swiss planes and ships from the airports or seaports of Muslim nations.
Since the actual war thing is a ridiculous fantasy, this seems to be the thrust of his point more than anything. And I don't know how anyone could argue with that. In 1996 and 1997, we were all down with dozens of US states' comptrollers pulling retirement-fund investments from Swiss businesses in conjunction with a boycott arranged by Israeli lobbying groups. This stuff works. But look, I don't want this to be an Arab/Israeli thing. We're losing focus here.

Fuck the Swiss. They actually amended a constitution that protected freedom of religion and free expression to ban the architectural expression of a religion. Even their Federal Government repeatedly said that the amendment was stupid and wrong. Worse, the country had a total of four minarets. In other words, they had one minaret for every 1,944,000 people — or one minaret for every 83,000 resident muslims, whether practicing or non-practicing. Not only that, but the campaign in favor of the amendment relied on hysterical distortions of the muslim faith, islamic society and just some classy classy racism from a country that already has a healthy Neo-Nazi movement.

I mean it; screw 'em. I'm with that crazy African guy who looks like he's got a dim-sum basket on his head. If you're going to be a nation of paranoid tribalistic white-supremacist hoteliers, you deserve someone to validate your paranoia, even if he's just supplying quotables. And if you're going to nationally sink to the same intellectual level of just depicting arabs as people with heads swaddled in towels, then frankly I hope he was flogging his servants for not stealing enough of them from one of your goddamn hotels.

Also, I own a Leatherman. Tell Victorinox to pop out one of those tiny spoon attachments and use it to eat a dick.

Mobutu Sese Seko, Gstaad, 2010