1.3 billion people on the move and some ugly prejudice at home

Companies Ads All American Muslim

Huffington Post, 12-9-11

Among the things that always startle and shock me are two very different things.  For example, most of the things I read about China are in one of those two categories.  The shock comes mainly from the sheer size of the numbers.  Whether it is the number of cars sold, the amount of rice eaten, the number of people who are online or any other measure of the Chinese economy the numbers are huge.  When 1.3 billion people do a thing it is a billion things.  That is about 4 times the size of the American population; approximately 20% of the people in the world life in China.

In January and February there is going to be a Spring Festival; the festival is expected to generate 3 billion trips – 3 billion people going from one place to another over a 40 day period of time. How would you like to have a little shop at one terminal, maybe selling something cheap to drink or eat – you know say for .50 cents for each item? At the end of the Spring Festival, you could retire with a billion dollars or so in the bank.  Oh wait, you have to pay for the stuff you sell, pay rent and taxes, so maybe you only net $800 million.  Hard to imagine isn’t it?  The commercial potential in China is immense, no wonder every major company in the world is fighting to enter the Chinese market; the market is beyond my imagination. Staggering!

Recently, a preparatory meeting for the 2012 Spring Festival travel season was held by the National Development and Reform Committee, the Ministry of Transport, the Safety Supervision Bureau and other related departments.  The Spring Festival travel season will start on Jan. 8 and end on Feb. 16, amounting to 40 days.  It was preliminary forecasted that the number of passengers will reach 3.2 billion, an increase of more than 9 percent compared with last year. There will be 25 million people working at the first line of Spring Festival transportation. Zhu Jianhong, Chinese People’s Daily, 12-9-11

The other thing that always shocks me is prejudice – the way one group of people can hate another group of hate.  In our daily life we can go along for a long time without directly encountering any prejudice, unless of course you are different in some way – such as being gay, black or Muslim.  But for most of us we rarely encounter it and it is especially rare in the media.  Over the last few years television has become very permissive; 30 or 40 years ago much of what passes for entertainment today would not be allowed.  However in 2011, if you are willing to wait until after the kids go to bed or pay for all of the extra channels you can see pretty much anything.  More sex than you would have found in a porno shop 25 years ago, but also more religion, more stuff to buy and a much broader range of “entertainment.”  There are whole channels that focus on just about any special interest a person might have; and shows that look for the lowest common denominator and pander to our baser nature – like reality shows.  In the last few years a whole new genre has emerged, reality shows.  Cameras follow people around peeping and listening to their seemingly normal lives,  – that is if you can call the Kardashian sisters or Ozzy Osbourne or any of the others normal.

But what you may not be able to see is Muslim Americans who live a normal life.  Under the pressure of some religious groups, Lowe’s and other major advertisers are dropping their support for “All-American Muslim.’  What is their objection?  The program portrays some Muslims as being reasonable people and not blood-crazed terrorists.  I am not a big customer of either Lowe’s or Amway, so they lose nothing when I buy nothing from them, but I still have put them on my “no-go” list.   How is it possible for this to happen in 2011 in the United States?   Stupid, cruel, immoral, mean-spirited and anything else goes, but not honest sincere belief and an honest sincere lifestyle.   It is certain, the protesting groups consider themselves to be true Americans and patriots, supporters of the American constitution.  Staggering!

“‘All-American Muslim’ is propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law,” the Florida group asserts in a letter it asks members to send to TLC advertisers. Omar Scaribey, Huffington Post, 12-9-11



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