Monday, May 31, 2010

Food Fair, Facebook and the Flotilla - by b

Palestinian and Israeli Friends and Schoolmates Representing @ the Food Fair on Friday.

Friday night was the International Food Fair at school. It is my favorite event at Ben Franklin where our kids go in Barcelona. The range of countries represented at the school is wondeful. And because --- unlike San Francisco -- Barcelona is kind of lacking (understatement!) in food from other cultures, cruising from table to table and tasting great food from around the world is a real treat.

Last year a friend asked me whether I'd make something for the Israeli table. I volunteered to make two dishes... a typically Israeli salad and a typically Palestinian one... and called the pair the "Two Salad Solution". It was my small part for communicating the need for a two-state solution in Israel/Palestine. (Actually... truth be told... I don't even know anymore if a two-state or one-state solution makes sense... my main point is there are two peoples there and they need to accept one another somehow ... see this e.g.)

This year, when asked, I asked in return if it would be possible for there to be a Palestinian table as well. I'd recently met a Palestinian high schooler at the school... but since the event is basically parent-driven, and his parents aren't here (they're in Jordan) I thought it was unlikely that he'd know about it in time to plan something if he wanted to. The organizers were cool with it. And Nadim was into it.

Mauricio's Humus and the lentils from Nadim's Kushari.

Nadim got a recipe from his parents.---for Kushari, which he ate a lot as a kid and loves (it is actually Egyptian but it's what his parents recommend he make). He bought the ingredients. We cooked together I also made a yummy Israeli yogurt and tomato salad that I ate a lot as a kid.

Fittingly both the Israeli and the Palestinian tables had to share a table. And for that night peace reigned. The adults and kids hanging out behind the table wore Israeli and Palestinian flag stickers. And the kids who came by with their Food Fair Passports could get stamps from both as well.


BUT! when I took a photo of my shirt with both flags and posted them to Facebook via my mobile phone, the first comment that came back was one word: "vomit." So much for people trying to feel good and make even a small, symbolic difference. I deleted the photo and the comments.

And then I woke up this morning to read about the flotilla --- and I felt nauseous myself.

If only life could be a food fair ..