Hands across the divide.
Posted by Exile on October 9, 2006
We all do it. Some of us do it every day. Others do it when they meet old friends. When we reach a bargain. When we say hello. When we say goodbye. It is the age old greeting and goodbye. The simple handshake.
Historians would have us believe it comes from a time when men carrried swords. As a sign of no ill intent, they would give each other the right hand as a gesture of trust. They could not draw a sword if the right hand was occupied and the left was holding a shield. It has been done since roman times and probably before.
We measure our opposites by their handshake. If it is weak and limp, some find it indicative of an untrustworthy person. Firm and vigorous would indicate a man of some character.
It is a part of our civilisation and a ritual which we all practise without second thought. Refusing to shake a proffered hand is deemed offensive and impolite.
If you will not shake my hand, then I refuse to deal with you.
The Dutch city of Rotterdam has just been sued by a man, who refused to shake the hands of women. Whether they were fellow employees or customers. The man was applying for a job in the Rotterdam Social Security and Employment office. His refusal to shake hands cost him his chances of getting the job and he sued. Successfully.
The court decided that Rotterdam was wrong, and they should have given the man an alternative method of offering respectable greeting. As to what that may be, the court had no suggestion.
Need I say, the man is a muslim.