Thursday, 13 September 2012

In Passing IV

On sale at the local Apotheke

Someone quickly get on the phone to Sandra Fluke (pronounced 'Fluck'... snort)
"Anti-baby pills" looks really harsh in 6-inch high letters but then German is a solid, matter-of-fact sort of language. Tram or bus passengers without a valid ticket are called Schwarzfahrers (Black Riders) although ironically, hardly any blacks are nabbed for it as most blacks in Basel are asylum-seekers that get to ride for free on public transport courtesy of us tax-paying drones. PC is making some inroads though, a local confection called the Mohrenkopf (Moor's Head) was renamed a Schokokuss (Chocolate Kiss... quick, someone get on the phone to Hershey's this time). According to a colleague, in the 70s it was referred to even more provocatively as a Negerkuss.

It seems rather spineless to rename a simple sweet out of some perceived slight to Moorish sensitivities. The Moors raided Southern European coastlines for centuries, sacking towns and capturing white slaves for the North African slave trade. The number of slaves torn from their families and forced to convert to Islam is estimated to be between 1-2 million. Young white slave girls would fetch a premium in the souks, and as for slave boys..... well, lets just say Allah is bountiful. Of course, the West gets castigated for slavery despite the fact that it was the abolitionists, prominent among whom were churchmen, that finally outlawed the once universal practice of slavery. The last five countries to legally abolish slavery were Saudi Arabia (1962), Yemen (1962), the UAE (1963), Oman (1970) and Mauritania (1981). There's something linking all these countries that I can't quite put my finger on. The Barbary slave trade was only stopped after punitive raids by the US in the early 19th century ("The shores of Tripoli...") and French colonialisation of the region. If anyone is entitled to play the victim card in this scenario, it would be present-day Europeans as descendants, albeit indirectly, of the white slaves and yet it is the exact opposite, deferring to the feelings of the party associated with slaving, that has occurred. As I said, spineless.

On the other hand, even I can see that Negerkuss is definitely beyond the pale these days and the confectioner responsible for the creation below should be forced to undergo immediate sensitivity training at the nearest re-education camp.

Insult, meet injury...

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