Islamic militants who have taken over in Mogadishu and dropped the dark veil of medievalism over the minds of the citizenry have branded Coca-Cola as un-Islamic.
A hard-line sheik has declared that Westerners are enemies of Islam and their products should not be consumed.
The man has followers. One, who owns a tea shop, said, "Out of ignorance, I was selling and drinking Coca-Cola, but now I hate it so much.'
Pointing to various rules regarding beverages that grace the Koran, the militants point out that Mohammed states, "There is only one beverage, and it's name is water." They maintain that, In another place, the Prophet notes, "Things don't go better with Coke; it makes me burp." Finally, they say he reveals, "The infidels invented Coke, and true believers never imitate the infidels, except when I took ideas from Moses and Jesus, but remember: I always gave them credit, or at least as much as I could stand to give them."
As a result, the one factory that represents a drop of modernity in the impoverished burg is in danger of being shut entirely. Sales are down markedly, because many of the citizenry believe in the soft-drink wisdom of their leaders.
Doubt exists as to the genuineness among some of the citizens of the new abhorrence for the drink. A recent convert commented, "I think these backward thinkers are just the kind of people I want to follow. For me abstaining from Coke has nothing to do with the fact that they carry machine guns, and I don't own one."
There is also some forthright good news. A young man, age 31, is ignoring calls by religious leaders to stay away from it. "I love Coca-Cola," he said, "I drink it all the time. It's my favorite drink."
There was another bright spot in an otherwise dismal mindscape A consumer who considers it his favorite beverage said, "I don't have suspicions about it. I don't think hostility can work in business. Business must be free from political and religious affairs."
His level-headed comment reminds us somewhat of the sign that used to be painted on the side of the IBM building in New York City, which managed to combine the economic basis of society with the urgent need for humans to find peaceful ways to conduct themselves. It said "World peace through world trade." Nice idea. The more factories you build in another country, the less likely you are to bomb it. At least, one hopes.