Elaborately, his exception he took:
She accidentally spilled Mangeya’s drink and he became angry and violent, threatening to beat us up. He shouted obscenities at the top of his voice. He eventually calmed down after some shoppers spoke to him and we reimbursed him $1 for his drink and promised to buy his water glass,” said Miss Mary Shumba, one of the workers at Regal Supermarket. She said Mangeya went away but later came back with some explosives that he connected to power cables while he was sitting at the entrance to the shop.
It is unkind to make light of events in distant and less secure lands. Yet there are only four sorts* of news stories left about beer, one being variations on the theme of beer and crime. And of all those wicked stories blowing up a shopping complex has got to be up there as the greatest over-reaction I have ever seen. The use of “lost his marbles” in an actual report of a thwarted crime of this scale is just an added bonus.
As discussed last year, tales of true crime and beer are a venerable part of our social discourse. Those three mugs of beer for the servant girl in 1729 illustrate the opposite end of the same old measuring stick. For better or worse both moralists and felons often associate beer and crime. Do we deny the truth with the fervour of a semi-amateur craft PR consultant sensing something that might compromise his revenue stream? Or do we embrace the seamy reality as part of beers role in life’s rich pageant?
*1. “Beer Fest / Bar / Micro / Wet Hops Coming To Town!”; 2. Interview (with no corroborating fact checking) of Great Figure in Craft Brewing (yogurt optional); 3. Travel Piece on “Wherever The Junket Money Sent The Author”… and it was Amazeballs!; 4. Beer Crime.
Is it fair to say good luck seeing this sort of puffery questioned in North America?
The Council, in a letter signed by its Director General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, listed some of the claims, which include that beer is not an alcoholic beverage and that if taken regularly and in moderation has many defined nutritional and health benefits and can indeed be part of a healthy life style. Other claims by the company also include that “beer consumption has therapeutic qualities such as prevention of kidney stones, increase in anti-oxidant activity in the body, reduction in the risk of heart disease and blood pressure management”. The government agency expressed its reservation that the claims “in effect suggest that beer is a health drink and have the potential to lure unsuspecting consumers into unwholesome consumption of the product”…
I kick myself often and especially when I don’t note down good sources of information – especially those that I will only realize later I need. A few weeks or months ago, Maureen Ogle tweeted a link to a very sensible medical article which described how the entire problem with health claims related to beer is that they were not holistic, that they did not seek to explain the entire set of effects on the arc of a drinker’s life. I saved it not. What was the point? I just end up shaking my head when beer consultant types make these sorts of claims. But it looks like the Nigerian Consumer Protection Council is taking it seriously and is on the track, investigating claims by Nigerian Breweries Plc on the nutritional, health and therapeutic benefits of beer consumption.
A few hours on the fourth floor of the Royal Ontario Museum Saturday found me looking for beer stuff in the exhibits. Just a game. You think of how pervasive beer has been in western culture and how places like museums like to not discuss it all that much and it starts to be a fun game to play for a tired mind after a long night in a noisy hotel. Fun? Time passing maybe. Temper maintaining perhaps. Anyway, there was some fairly interesting stuff to be found.
Like that friend of Bertie Wooster who passes time when walking through London by imagining golf shots, I think about the beers I would have from these museum pieces. Not hard when the drinking vessel in question is a 1750s Silesian glass tankard but what about a fourth century Sudanese clay drinking cup. Clay asks for something like thin boozy porridge but there’s not much of that going around these day in this civilization. Chip shot into the Shaftesbury Memorial pool at Piccadilly.
Then I think about the techniques the curators are using to get the beer stuff into the displays but not really mentioning. In one room of the exhibit, two Georgian silver tankards are in the back placed on bookshelves along with other curios as if they were not really used for drinking beer at all. In another display, pewter pots are lined up in a row to describe weights and measures as opposed to the uses to which they were put. The weighted and measured. Odd. No pottle. The fifteenth century mead drinking jug made of spruce sits next to the leather canteen in a daring juxtaposition of old things, weirdly shaped and made out of strange stuff. Two iron glanced off Shakespeare’s forehead neatly carries on down Charing Cross Road. Kids are getting tired feet. Me, too.
We took the subway back to the hotel, three stops south to Osgoode the TTC car as empty but for us as the sidewalks had been on the way north earlier. The kids said that Toronto was nice but it was no Montreal. I knew what they meant but it was not a bad Toronto, either. University Avenue looked like the MIT area of Cambridge if the MIT area of Cambridge had stopped being built in 1973 or so.
Laws around beer reflect cultural norms both in how they regulate and how they express norms that are unregulated. Consider this proposed reform to the hours of sale law of Zimbabwe:
The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare is crafting its own alcohol policy, which might alter the tough proposals by President Robert Mugabe’s health advisor, Timothy Stamps. Stamps has forwarded to Cabinet a policy document that seeks to force supermarkets, shops and bottle stores to sell alcoholic drinks between 6am and 7pm, while the selling of beer would be banned after mid-day on Sunday.
That comes off as a bit odd. Clearly breakfast time drinking is OK there. Here in Ontario, you can’t serve a beer before 11 am in a licensed establishment even if you can drink well past midnight. But in each case, you get over 12 hours stretch of imbibing. In Kenya you only get six hours. Alaskans get 21 hours in a row – why bother shutting at all?
A very unexpected and gracious tribute to Romeo Dallaire, my personal greatest Canadian, was entered this evening as a reply to a post I made on my blog last January. Please go read it.
Update: these two articles in French indicate that there was a Senegalese intellegence officer by the name Amadou Démé in Rwanda at the time. [My French is poor as is the Google translator so if anyone can identify more information about this, please do.] In January 1994, he apparently uncovered arms caches of the Interhamwe (also known as the Interahamwe) militia which played a major role in the Rwandan genocide in the spring of 1994. In 1994, Senegal sent a battalion-sized force to Rwanda to participate in the UN peacekeeping mission there. Dallaire commanded that mission.
While I am not clear in myself as to what Canada should have done in relation to Iraq, I can’t recall ever being so clear as when I understood what was happening in Rwanda and how democracies, the world community, whoever was at the wheel failed. Canadian General Romeo Dallaire is testifying this week at United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. I do not think I will ever forget the CBC radio piece on Rwanda in 1994 when he was interviewed and described walking into a stadium where children had been butchered wondering why he was walking on sausages when he realized they were all little severed fingers. 800,000 people died there just ten years ago in a few weeks to people with only rifles and machetes. Yesterday, he identified the accused who gave the orders:
Dallaire, who led the ill-fated 1994 United Nations peacekeeping mission in Rwanda, rose to his feet, glanced around, then fixed an icy glare on his former nemesis. “He’s on the extreme right, in the last row,” Dallaire said, pointing at Theoneste Bagosora…
…Today Dallaire is expected to testify about the secret informant who warned in January, 1994, that death squads were compiling lists and training to kill thousands of people a day. When Dallaire told U.N. headquarters in New York he planned to raid the arms caches of the death squads, he was told not to take any military action, that he had to remain neutral.
They told him not to act on a plan. I can’t get around the numbers. 267 World Trade Centres. Downstream in Burundi, the river was red with human blood and parts. Then you remember fifteen years before that two and a half times that many died in Cambodia.