Gaza shopkeeper stocks up on Danish flags to burn
06 Feb 2006 16:58:04 GMT
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
GAZA, Feb 6 (Reuters) - When entrepreneur Ahmed Abu Dayya first heard that Danish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad were being reprinted across Europe, he knew exactly what his customers in Gaza would want: flags to burn.
Abu Dayya ordered 100 hard-to-find Danish and Norwegian flags for his Gaza City shop and has been doing a swift trade.
"I do not take political stands. It is all business," he said in an interview. "But this time I was offended by the assault on the Prophet Mohammad."
"I knew there would be a demand for the flags because of the angry reaction of people over the offence to Prophet Mohammad," said Abu Dayya, whose PLO Flag Shop also sells souvenirs and presents.
He sells his Danish and Norwegian flags for $11 a piece -- a price he acknowledged might be dampening sales. Many protesters prefer to save money and make the flags themselves from scraps of fabric, he said.
Abu Dayya sources some of his flags from suppliers in Taiwan, but he buys Israeli flags from a merchant in Israel, even though he sells them to be burnt at anti-Israeli rallies.
Flag-making has been a growth business for Abu Dayya for years, thanks to orders by Palestinian militant groups for national flags and banners bearing the symbols of armed factions.
Last year, he said the Palestinian Authority ordered 60,000 flags ahead of Israel's withdrawal from Gaza. Workers at one factory stitched some 3,000 pennants a day.
That's just fantastic. I can just imagine some factory somewhere running day and night to meet the demand for Norwegian flags somewhere. 'Buisness is up 8000%!' I take it that it's one part of the Danish economy that would be completely immune to a boycott if this mess goes on.
On a sidenote, it's no surprise that bloggers as a whole are taking side in this mess. I just found a site where they're passing out support Denmark banners.
Frankly, I'd be more with the program if I weren't feeling so ambivalent with the whole thing. I can't help but think that I'm sleeping with the enemy on this one no matter who I side with.