Beer a deal breaker. 6.30.2005

No beer? No lunch!
A lunch meeting between a leading parliamentarian in Belgium and counterparts from Iran has been canceled because the beer-loving Belgian could not stomach a ban on alcohol.

"Even for the tolerant Herman De Croo, that was a bridge too far," De Croo, a Dutch-speaking Liberal, told De Standaard daily Thursday.

De Croo, president of parliament's lower house, had been due to entertain the speaker and members of the Iranian parliament Friday during their visit to Belgium -- famous for its diversity of beer brands.

But he said lunch had been canceled because the Iranians, who as Muslims do not drink alcohol, wanted their hosts to do the same.

"I did not receive such demands in writing. But ... I was indirectly asked not to serve alcohol," said De Croo.

The visit ran into further trouble after Iran's parliament speaker Gholamali Haddadadel insisted he would not shake hands with the female president of Belgium's Senate.

Anne-Marie Lizin, a Socialist, then canceled their meeting. She said in a statement that Iranians should respect local customs in Belgium, just as Belgians should in Iran.

From the title I thought the Belgiums were being petty.

But the Iranians were in Belgium, and without asking for it until the last minute, wanted their hosts to act, well, like Dhimis: like non-Muslims under Muslim rule, rather than to act like the leaders of a sovereign state. Now if the Belgiums had the bad taste to walk out of a meeting in Iran because the Iranians didn't serve beer, then it would have been a problem with the Belgiums--but it was the Iranians on Belgium's soil. The failure to let the Belgiums know they cannot drink beer in the presence of the Iranian leaders until the last minute was a problem: most Westerners are willing to be more than accomodating to the people they are hosting.

But accomodation is not servitude.

Europe has it's problems. Europeans, desirous of nothing more than peace and prosperity and who are unwilling to devote money and lives to protecting themselves, have opened themselves to significant economic and military problems. Their unwillingness to insist that immigrants accomodate themselves to the local culture has created various ghettos of immigrants who are now pissed they don't get to participate in the local culture and politics: rather than fleeing the middle east, they bring the middle east with them--and negate the whole reason for their running away in the first place. And European leaders are so upset with the United States they see themselves in opposition to that they are willing to destroy themselves if they can bring the U.S. down a notch.

But to the Europeans, this is accomodation and good manners, not a willingness to go in to Dhimitude. And while the Iranian President may think that he will lead Islam through world conquest and turn the White House into the Muslim House, they have no power to conquer us. The most they can do is piss the Europeans off enough to have them come to the U.S. to bail them out from their latest geo-political flirtations.

posted by William Woody at 9:19 AM

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A moderate conservative living in the left coast, surrounded by the sureal, wonders if there is a sane life living amongst those who have lost touch with reality.

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