Building Peace: One Pastry at a Time
You would ask how can a pastry of honey and pistachios make the world a peaceful place? By eating them? Well, maybe that's half of it but the women of France found a way that the process of making pastry might just be the answer of healing the rifts between the Muslims and Jews.
And at a time where hints of changes in middle east are brewing in, the women who call themselves Les Battisseuses de Paix or Peace Builders in France believe that to encourage a Muslim-Jewish stability is to focus on simple things that the two can share - Like recipes!
The aim is not to solve the conflict that mystify and defied all the finest brains of diplomacy for decades but it is rather to neutralize the air and to block the transfer of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to them.
About 50 of them convened for mint tea recently at Les Jardins de la Méditerranée, or The Mediterranean Gardens, a kosher restaurant in the Paris suburb of Créteil. After kisses and compliments on hairdos, it was time for business. "Let's get to work!" one woman shouted, as eggs, dates and other sweet ingredients were passed around.
The crictics and cynics said the means are inadequate to solve the issue but the aim enough, is laudable.
France, the European country with the largest Muslim and Jewish population stems that the hostility between the two communities has been fueled by "French Jews thinking they are Israeli and French Muslims thinking they are Palestinians". A sentiment of thinking that is similar of other Jews and Muslims all over the world.
Peace Builders tackles this problem by throwing politics out the window, providing a neutral space for women who do not wish to be entangled in the bitter preoccupations that have often pitted the two communities against each other. From its focus on solidarity between Jews and Muslims was born the association's golden rule: No talk of Israel and Palestine, or as Derczansky, who is Jewish, says: "The first to bring up the conflict has to leave."
Why does it looks appealing enought to work? It is perhaps as Ghaleb Bancheikh a French television host said "because of the women who brings the image of tenderness and maternal emotion" that is the best agent for stopping conflict.
Of course, in not discussing it, there is a certain hypocrisy but,
"By itself this association can't accomplish much," Jean-Pierre Allali, a writer on Jewish Affairs said. "But in multiplying these kinds of efforts, maybe something can be done."
Peace Builders enables women who may be steadfast Zionists or resolutely pro-Palestinian to roll up their sleeves and join forces in the kitchen, where concerns revolve more around almonds and dough than geopolitics.
With the sound of women in good spirits and cheering when their oven hot pastry turned out to be golden fine...
Now, if only we can turn Starbucks all over the world into such a place...