Lunch Has Been Canceled

In the past few years we’ve been hearing a lot of about the income gap. But there’s another ever-expanding global divide that seems to be widening at an accelerating pace: The cultural values gap. Glimpses of this gap were on display during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s recent European tour. In Italy, nude statues in a museum were covered up to avoid offending the visitors. And in France, President François Hollande just canceled a lunch with President Rouhani “because the Iranians insisted that no wine be served.” These are relatively mild examples. But they point to much bigger issues. Earlier this week, Iran’s supreme leader marked Holocaust Remembrance Day by releasing an updated version of his Holocaust denial mantra. So should all books on the Holocaust be removed from the shelves if an official Iranian delegation decides to tour a library? Where do host countries draw the line when a values gap becomes a reality gap? For now, lunch was not served in France. And I suppose I’ll drink to that.

+ Related: Here’s how Pakistan dealt with an international NYT front page that showed two men kissing.

Copied to Clipboard