Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Prostration of the Prince of Denmark

by Reuben Pyatigorsky
(translated from Russian by e-kvetcher)

A Feuilleton

You have probably heard the shocking statements of various European foreign ministers on the topic of the Palestinians. I will not repeat them, but I will tell you about my encounter with the Danish Minister Mogens Lykketoft.
We met in an airport in Israel – our luggage was being checked for bombs by security. Standing next to each other we started talking. And this is where I asked him:
-Why don’t you, Mr. Lykketoft, take these Palestinians yourself?
-I don’t understand, take them where?
-To Denmark. All of Europe loves and defends them, you louder than the rest… We’ll put them on ships. Danish tankers are the best in the world. A million and a half people – we can do in three trips if you mobilize the whole fleet. Once there, we’ll distribute them among the hostels and shelters. Arafat will live in Elsinore and command the militants from there. Like Prince Hamlet.
The Minister was surprised:
-Which militants, what Hamlet?! We don’t have enough territory.
- You have four times our territory, I checked the map. And good infrastructure. Palestinians love good infrastructure: windmills, farms, various discos. A terrorist walks up to a windmill, presses a button on his stomach – and twenty millers are flying through the air. You have to agree, Mogens: the whole town covered in flour, it will be like Christmas.
The Danish Minister was having trouble getting this. But he was starting to understand what I was getting at:
-We can’t! we are a small country with quiet, peace loving people. There are only five million of us.
-Don’t worry, in a couple of months there will be five million of them, and after half a year – ten. So they will catch up very quickly. If I were you, I would not be so stubborn. And your neighbors will begin to respect you. Picture this: a young Palestinian Dane standing on the side of the German Autobahn, pantyhose over his head, a shirt full of rocks, roaring ‘Allahu Akbar’ across all of Europe. A real Viking! This is the way to regain past glory.
-In our country you cannot throw rocks at cars. It counts as a terrorist act, the police shoot without warning.
-You’ll have to get rid of these medieval rules. If you start shooting without warning, Israel will be the first to protest. Freedom for the Danish Palestinians!
-But we don’t oppress them – said the Minister in amazement, - what freedom?
-Regular freedom. They want to establish their country on the west bank of the Orisund Strait and in the Jutland strip. Otherwise, a stone throwing intifada, or how do you say that in Danish?
For some reason he answered in a whisper:
-We don’t have rocks. Only meadows with cows and pigs.
I parried energetically:
-Forget the pigs and the meadows. Arabs don’t like that. And get rid of your ‘Mermaid’. Ship her at dawn, on a boat, to neutral Sweden. Otherwise, Fatah will screw her head off.
Fear turned the Minister’s eyes round, like a Danish krona:
-For what?
- She is out there naked – I explained. – It is an insult to the Palestinian Woman. By the way, speaking of heads, Mogens, do you have small children?
-Yes. I have a five year old grandson, Svend, with a cute button nose.
- Well, when you arrive, run to say goodbye to him. In a week, they will crack his skull with a rock.
- Oh, what horror!! What are you saying?! Such a tiny thing – with a rock? He is my little sunshine, my little Svend. He likes to play with trains.
- No reason for little Svend to play with trains. Arafat’s right to self determination is more important than little trains. And besides, you best get used to this new lifestyle, Mr. Lykketoft. The Palestinians will be now a part of your country. This way is much more interesting. You’ll have to free them from taxes, however Arabic will become a second national language. On top it says “Welcome to Copenhagen” and on the bottom in Arabic script “El Bekaa province. Sacred to Muslims” All day Arabian blues on the radio. Don’t let the cats hear, they will die from envy. And every midnight, across the whole country – stereo muezzin, 500 decibels. Better shut your windows. Also, I don’t recommend straying too far from your house. If you wind up in the Arab neighborhood – you’re guaranteed an express lynching. The cities will be shelled with mortars, the outskirts with machine guns, but not an night, in the morning, when the suburbanites are having coffee with éclairs. So you best convert to hummus.
- We cannot go without coffee and éclairs – said the Minister of Foreign Affairs and began to cry quietly.
-Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it – I tried to console him and even gave him a hug, but no use! A terrible scene – hands covering the face, shaking, says through the tears:
- But why us?
I patted his head and answered conspiratorially, as if revealing a great mystery:
-Because you are their true friend! Right, Mogens?
And Mogens starts weeping even harder.
There we stood drowning in his tears until it was time for him to fly to Denmark. His bodyguards barely managed to take him away. And at the exit door, a Palestinian walked by in his keffiyeh. You should have seen how the Minister yelped with fear. Not used to it yet. I just shook my head. No wonder it is said “Denmark’s a prison!”


Anonymous Mark said...

Well well well, very well indeed. Did you really translate this from Russian? Where do you know Russian from?

January 08, 2009 2:08 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Native speaker.

January 08, 2009 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

Well that makes two of us. I'll send you an email as I'm not very fond of hanging out my laundry for all to see if you know what I mean.

January 08, 2009 5:20 PM  
Blogger Baal Habos said...

Very nice!

January 09, 2009 11:44 AM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

The group to which I belong has a soft spot for Russians.

As one of our members says, "years ago I demonstrated for Russian Jews, now I demonstrate with Russian Jews".

By the way, e-kvetcher, fellow SF blogger Death by Noodles seems to like your stuff.

And want's to know what happened to the emes you lost, and what flavour it was.

See here:

She also reads Nabokov. And I swear I had nothing to do with that.

January 09, 2009 1:59 PM  
Blogger -suitepotato- said...

That was the fall down funniest thing I've read in days and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you much for that.

January 11, 2009 2:28 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...



January 11, 2009 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't the European Jews just move back to Europe where they came from instead of displacing poor Palestinians in their country? Maybe Denmark, with their anti-Muslim government would take back some of their export to the middle east.

January 12, 2009 1:19 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Wow, Anonymous,

Are you Norwegian?

January 12, 2009 1:25 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

Did this conversation actually take place?

January 12, 2009 2:13 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...


It's satire.

January 12, 2009 2:17 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Why don't the European Jews just move back to Europe where they came from instead of displacing poor Palestinians in their country? Maybe Denmark, with their anti-Muslim government would take back some of their export to the middle east.

Ah yes, and the Sfardim and Mizrahi can move back to Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Tunis, Yemen, Turkey, Lebanon ...

Alexandria has been a ghost town since Gamel Abdel Nasser got rid of the Jews. This might lead to a revival, what?

I have some Bukharan friends who would really like to see Tashkent and Samarkand again.

Given the Iranian attitude towards Jews, it would also be perfectly reasonable for all of those members of the community in Los Angeles to go back to Tehran too, and provide employment opportunities for Persians instead of Los Angelinos.

The only problem then becomes what to do with all the people born in Israel both before and after independence. Do we, Solomon-like, cut them into halves? Or smaller fractions? Do we leave part of them in the land, and return a few bloody stumps to places like Lodz and Kermanshah?

Of course, to be completely fair, we would also have to slice up most of the Palestinians, and return them to Jordan, Egypt, and Syria. Or even further afield - places like Albania and the northern shores of the black sea. After all, the economic development of the land caused by the influx of Jews at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth is no valid reason for migrants from all over the eastern part of the Ottoman empire to flock towards bright opportunity.

Truly, this splendid idea will solve the problem once and for all.

And perhaps restore to glory the empire of the sublime porte.

January 12, 2009 8:06 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Oops, I forgot that the Greeks and Russians still want Constantinople back.

Hold off on the great solution to the world's problem, guys, we've hit a snag.

January 12, 2009 8:07 PM  

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