A NEWS ITEM: A REPROACH
Prof. Dr. M. Es'ad COSAN
As a quick lesson for you, I will repeat a news headline which was printed by some "forward-looking" newspapers and magazines. They stated: "Here the retailer, not the producer, earns a profit." A bottle of beer costs 1000 Turkish Liras. 200 is the grocer's profit; 195 Turkish Liras goes to different taxes and funds; only 57 Turkish Liras is the producer's profit. Is 57 TL such a small profit? Why don't they say how many bottles of beer are sold so that people can learn how much the beer companies earn? Are they afraid that their readers will wake up and come to their senses? How long did they have to research on the topic and how much did they make?
If anyone is curious about other figures, I can say that 139 TL goes to advertising companies, 185 TL goes to transportation and amortization,, 35 TL to cooling and cap, 72 TL to finance and 29 TL to labor. The raw material costs 48 TL. This is magic! In plain and simple English, these men get money from the bank without spending their own; they water down 48 TL worth of barley, give 29 TL to workers and magically sell this "poison" at a price thirteen times its cost. The beer companies have a hold on the world as if they were octopuses. They are all over the world. Also, alcoholics are seen in many sidewalks. Day and night they smack their lips while drinking "the real beer under this cap."
The advertising cost comes out of the drinker's pocket. Also, the taxes, the transportation, the banker's interest and profit, and the amortization are paid by the drinker. The government owns only twelve percent of the beer market while eighty-eight percent is owned by foreign investors.
What happens to a man when he drinks alcoholic beverages? According to what is taught at schools, in a short time he becomes an alcoholic; his stomach is ruined; his liver fails; his mind is confused; his vision is impaired; he loses his health; and his offsprings are affected in a negative way, perhaps even deformed. The government and people have to pay for traffic accidents, murders, family disagreements and his illness. His life is damaged and destroyed both here and after death. He becomes a sorrowful and pitiful creature.
When there is so much money in the business, who will listen to God's prohibition and worry about people's health? The grocer hangs a sign saying: "Sustenance is from God." But, he cannot restrain himself from selling beer and making a profit. Owners of beer factories, on the other hand, look as if they were enemies of Islam which warns: "Drinking is a sin; alcohol is the mother of every kind of evil." Behind closed doors, they support the enemies of Islam. Directly or indirectly, they ruthlessly struggle against the faith, hijab, the Koran, Muslims, hodjas, and the sacred and idealistic press. In fact, sometimes they even use as their buffer, the republic, democracy, the constitution, Atatürk, progressivism and civilization. In order to keep their work running smoothly and bypass regulations, they bribe the upper levels of bureaucracy. They also find ways to unseat ministers who stand in their way.
The problem discussed before does not happen to beer companies owners only. The distributors of our Islamic magazines behaved much in the same way. They were getting forty to forty-five percent of the share. When we tried another distributor, they said that they already distributed many magazines and could not handle ours.
One must understand that the large distributing companies belong to large newspapers. For example, the Hürriyet is a partner of Gameda, and they both founded Hürdagitim. These companies get support from the city and state administrations in the form of paid advertisements and announcements. They place their newsstands in the busiest locations. They push the sale of obscene publications, and throw the packs of Islamic publications under the stand and return them unopened. We do not make enough money to cover the advertising, transportation, amortization, financing, taxes or any other costs. It is almost impossible to handle it all on our own, so we were forced to get loans and support from other individuals.
As if these problems were not enough, some unfair Muslims have started a campaign against us. They complain that the prices of our magazines are too high. Also, they criticize us when they see the slighest mistake in our publications. If we do not promise them a gift at the time of the renewal of their subscription, they do not renew their subscription. If we do not sell the magazines for very low prices, they do not buy, read or encourage others to read them.
Aren't our magazines worth as much as or more than a bottle of alcoholic beverage, a pack of cigarettes, a bar of soup, a bottle of shampoo or a small tube of shaving cream? Definitely, they are, but the Europeans have increased the price of everything they produce and prevented us from protesting. We, in turn, have trampled on our most valuable products, from nuts to borax and petroleum, from bananas to wheat, olive oil and grapes. All of them are treated the same way.
Do you know what one of our brothers said to one of our writers, Rasid Hodja, in Manissa?
"What a good magazine you published? Why did you stop publishing it?"
"Who stopped publishing it, brother?" Thanks be to God we have not closed down in spite of all our problems: our enemies, our distributors, inflation and criticism. Inshallah, we will expand and progress in this business. With God's help, some day we will plant our flag on the watchover.
To those Muslims who thought that we had stopped publishing the magazine, and did not even bother to find out the truth, who did not ask about their brother's problems, or who did not try to help, I hope God may forgive them. Didn't our prophet say, Whoever does not take interest in Muslim's problems is not one of them"?
(Islam October 1989)