starbucks in medina DSCF8452

Starbucks at Masjed e Nabvi from : ***

Never have we sprung to the defense of any entity more vehemently except when our lifestyle, our eating or drinking habits are criticized or attacked. After the recent boycott of Starbucks second time in five years it has made a small dent in their revenues, which has impelled them to put out a media, release which says enough to placate the Starbuck addicts but not enough to promise much of anything substantial. They have not denounced the killing the children in GAZA or denounced the entity that is killing them.

Having been a tea drinker all my life, I never could develop a taste for coffee in the USA no matter how hard I tried until Starbucks came on the radar.

Starbucks opened stealthily and just as stealthily became a part of my coffee drinking habit, I never drank coffee anywhere except Starbucks because everywhere else it did not taste good to me. I was ignorant that when I was drinking Starbucks coffee I wasn’t really drinking coffee. I was drinking hydrogenated fat, soy, tons of refined sugar, fake flavors and a little bit of coffee. However it was enough to hook me on to it. I was told what I was drinking had 595 calories a pop but it did not faze me, it made me feel great, gave me a sugar rush and a buzz like no other dessert or drink ever had and tea could not compete with it.


One day a doctor came to our community and shared her experiences of rehabilitation of Palestinian children traumatized by war. I looked into the eyes of five and seven year old girls and boys they looked back at me from their photos their eyes haunted with memories of violence, death and destruction and loss……… there was no reason for why the homes of these children had been destroyed in Gaza their parents killed their older brothers and uncles kidnapped and disappeared into the bottomless prisons of Israel.

The haunted sorrowful eyes stayed with me and I kept thinking what do I need to do and could not come up with a substantial answer.

Meanwhile when Starbucks opened with gusto in our little town, I no longer had to partake of it on my travels but it was right here in my backyard beckoning me to further enlarge my girth and taste the sweetness of coffee, which had not much of coffee or nutrition in the beverage I was drinking.

THE ROLE OF LARGE CORPORATIONS: the straw that broke the family’s back

It was about the same time when I started looking into what was happening to working mothers and their children and why. Since I had not grown up in a society programmed into the 8-5-work schedule, I could look at it objectively.

I noticed that it was punishing for families and gradually pried them apart, till the entire family system fell apart.

Most mothers and fathers who were plugged into the 8-5 work schedule meant that they woke up their kids in the early morning hours, bundled them without breakfast and farmed them to the American kibbutz called daycare. At daycare the children were fed pop tarts and sugar water disguised as juice. The parents rushed to pick them up in the evening. The children were wired and hyperactive with all the sugar and processed industrial food they had eaten during the day. This coupled with a parent who was exhausted from the eight hours of work, being away from home, and no compassion in the faceless corporation they were working became a recipe for familial discord.

I started to wonder what and who came up with the eight-hour shift? I had seen examples (in pre CNN days) in Pakistan in educated and labor working class who had a 7 to 1 working schedule in the long days of summer and fall. They would pick up their children from school at 1pm go home to eat a home cooked lunch rested with family in the afternoon after Dhuhr Salah. Some families had evening tea together before friends started visiting; some physicians left the house at 7 pm for evening hours at the office, which ended at 9. This schedule meant that they spent at least seven of the waking hours with their families and friends and yet managed to put in seven hours of work.

Looking back into the history of the industrial nations it appears that both the eight hour and twelve hour shifts came into being with the birth of the corporations and the use of electricity to keep the factories open all night.

A lot of this coincided with the war machinery. The young men became the fodder of the monster of war, the women had to cut their hair and skirts, tie a bandana around their cropped hair and worked untiringly in the factory for “their country” while their children languished on the street, alone at home or in an over burdened “friends “ home. When these parents went home they barely had a couple of hours with their exhausted wired kids and then it was bedtime.

Corporations are great for the war machinery as well as for bringing wealth to the faceless owners and their cronies who are the absentee shareholders. There is a false sense of well being in the western society from which these corporations originate. Close scrutiny reveals that the “little” man and woman own nothing at the end of the day. The bank or a mortgage company owns everything. If they cannot come up with the house payment at the beginning of each month, the banks are more faceless and compassionless than the old timey moneylenders in Shakespearean times. Such “little “ people can be out in the street with a delayed payment of less than ten days.


Meanwhile my addiction to the Starbucks coffee was growing. One day something clicked and connected the dots. I read something and confirmed it through independent sources:

The CEO of Starbucks an avid supporter of Zionism gave a huge generous donation to Israel. Meanwhile phosphorus bombs were dropped on GAZA by Zionists and made no distinction in burning adults and children alike.

In my next visit to Starbucks, as I stood at the counter ordering my coffee, the haunted sorrowful eyes of the Palestinian children looked at me from every cup of coffee I bought and drank. It was like drinking hemlock though I did not die but my conscience was dying a slow death.

Then I went to Palestine………….what I saw there and felt can only be explained as terror and tension in the children and young adults of Palestine, such that even a simple crack of a branch spooked them as if it was a gun being fired.

Suddenly my addiction broke; Starbucks coffee became dust in my mouth. I saw what my money via Starbucks was doing to the children with the haunted eyes.

I stopped cold turkey and have never been back to buy Starbucks coffee since then.

The boycott of Starbucks a few years ago of which I was a part worked! Starbucks felt the pinch, and came out with explanations that their company had pulled from Israel, which I later discovered that they were asked to leave as Israel was promoting its own chains. The CEO of Starbucks continued to support Israel and was being honored with awards from them, despite the boycott they neither denounced him by name nor fired him. Instead they went to the Arab countries and courted them. The Muslim leaders and dictators were given the same spiel, who went on to buy Starbuck franchises.


At my second Hajj as I turned into the lane to go to the Masjid e Nabavi my heart stopped with consternation and filled with grief. I saw the green neon sign of Starbucks right at the gate of the mosque. It broke my heart; Prophet Muhammad pbuh would not want such an invader at the gates of his sanctuary. An invader that has the blood of little children on its hands indirectly.

Somewhere the corporations and rich dictators of the world had joined hands to invade the Masjed Nabvi and trample the souls of the traumatized Palestinian children with the haunted eyes.

Meanwhile in my small town, one by one the small privately owned coffee shops closed including the one in which poetry was read in the evenings and all that remains is Starbucks.


Meanwhile the eight hour and twelve hours shifts designed and dictated by the large corporations of the first world have inducted them into the new world order with a tag of progress. These timings have been imposed on the third world in the name of prosperity. However tired parents who are separated from their children for 8 continuous waking hours coupled with frustrated children who don’t see a loving parent anymore, is slowly tearing away at the fabric of the American and other families.

It is making a society with no compassion for another and is filled with people who are overflowing with anger at the absent parent and sometimes this anguish and anger is transferred into violence. We have seen that this pent up violence may randomly erupt in a public shooting spree at a MacDonald or a children’s school.


Large Corporations bring wealth and social status only to the rich and make them richer. Meanwhile the little person has had to close his or her little coffee shop board her children with someone and work the daylight or night hours, away from the compassion of family and friends They wonder why they are stressed and why their kids are acting out and getting into drugs, illicit sex, and guns, yet they do not have the time or energy to look for the answer.

Starbucks to me as one who was once addicted to its coffee, is the epitome of something symbolic of financing a machinery to hurt children, by financing war in Palestine or poor health in non war societies.

Starbucks and large corporations that have not spoken up or criticized the killing of Palestinian children need to advertise what they stand for and what they denounce.

Right now they undermine human rights sometimes it is with the monetary support to Zionists who buys bullets for Palestinian children and their parents and sometimes as the one that closed the doors of independent small coffee shops and enslaved the owners in the eight hour or twelve hour shift bondage. Working for large corporations means leaving their children on the street or in warehouses to be held till they could come get them.

A company is known by the conscience of its leadership not by the reports they put out through their marketing/media room. The question to be asked is:

1. Did they replace their CEO that openly advocated and financed war against the children of Palestine for someone more compassionate?

2. Did they improve the quality of their drinks and take out the processed non-foodstuff that goes in it?

3. Did they leave room for the small business owners to thrive alongside?

if the answer is yes to these three questions then we need to re-evaluate Starbucks.

Photo courtesy: ***



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