I’m working on my piece about our experience volunteering in the warehouse and the camp in Calais a few weeks ago.  In the meantime, the Calais Kitchens women in this video were the ones who inspired us to come, and whom we met when there.  I deeply respect and trust them.  They are asking for donations of (tinned) chickpeas, tomatoes and fish, as well as cooking oil and ONIONS! Please no pasta.

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This came up automatically on Youtube. It’s beautiful and absolutely heartbreaking.

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A demonstration on 29 January at the UN Peace Talk in Geneva… Photo taken from PlanetSyria Facebook page

I wanted to share this protest, which I read about on Facebook.  Planet Syria wrote:

Syrian activists and solidarity groups are launching a Siege Soup Kitchen for delegates of the peace talks in Geneva. We invite delegates to give up their fancy lunch and come taste for themselves the dishes Syrians under siege are cooking right now to stay alive. Our specialties will be “herb soup” and “leaf soup”. Our servers President Obama and President Putin.

On the menu today:
– Green soup
– Spicy leaf soup
– Grass & leaf soup

One million people are under siege in Syria, deprived of food and medical care. They are forced to be creative in order to survive.

We need to see real action. A solution for Syria does not begin in Geneva. It begins in Madaya, Moadamiyeh, Daraya, Homs, Deir Ezzor, Aleppo… It begins when world leaders are serious about stopping war crimes and protecting civilians.

More brilliant food-themed activism like these films.  What can I do with my profound belief in non-violence if not support the creative and incessant work by the people and activists most effected by the violence of this war? Best wishes to them, and really hoping something beneficial comes out of the Peace Talks.  If you are a person for whom prayer is meaningful, do it!

 

“From the Planet of Syria we tried to send you our human voices, but they were not heard enough. Today we are sending a message by animals that they may find a listening ear.”

Sorry to visitors interested just in beautiful pictures of beautiful food- you won’t find them here today.  Instead, here’s a chilling little picture of the terrible desperation of war and starvation. I have never seen anything like these short films before.  Brace yourself and share them.

One is thankful not to get frequent opportunity to glimpse humour that emerges around fear of starvation; nevertheless these are quite brilliant ways to get a strong message out.

They came to me via Planet Syria, a campaigning group of non-violent Syrian activists seeking to engage the world in solutions to violence and extremism. The smallest gesture is to stand in international solidarity with people under siege.

 

Enjoy the Guardian podcast above with Jane Perrone, Anni Kelsey and Martin Crawford   Thanks to Anni for her wonderful blog where I first saw this.  Inspiring and eas(ier) gardening, climate friendly and cheaper, plus interesting, tasty things to eat.

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A beautiful illustration by Niki Groom a.k.a., Miss Magpie, Fashion Spy, showing volunteers in a kitchen in Calais cooking hot meals for people in camps in Calais and Dunkirk- for as far around as can go.

My friend Vicky and I are going next week, to get stuck in, hopefully with one of the Calais Kitchens. Knowing we are going, people in our town, including the local Refugee Support Group, have been generously giving us money to help how we see fit when we arrive. I expect we’ll be buying onions. Our wheelie-bags are already filled with spices.

This is the Calais Kitchens crowdfunder, and thanks to friends who have already responded.

A week ago I organised some links to help people both donate and volunteer, if they’re able.

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If I’m able, I’ll post photographs on Instagram on my new account with the name “kitchencounterculture”.  Please follow me there.

Another amazing illustration by Niki Groom:

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The poet Ashram Fayadh is scheduled to be executed in Saudia Arabia. There is a call to read his poetry aloud all through today. There’s an appeal next week. Let’s keep hopeful: lots of publicity for his case, and maybe this Amnesty petition can help https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/free-ashraf-fayadh-saudi-arabia-palestinian-poetry-apostasy-execution

I chose this poem for its unusual and disturbing use of bread-baking imagery.

Arabic Literature (in English)

This poem, from Instructions Within (2008), was translated by Tariq al Haydar:

A Melancholy Made of Dough

Parts of you pile one on top of another—a mixture of your blood,
sweat, remains, and discharge from your eyes.
And discharge from your eyes.
The knot of your tongue at the midway point of the ocean,
and when the sphere of the sun swims
in a preconceived orbit—
Complications!

What the sidewalk never mentioned
is that you used to step on it
and present your shoes on a plate of concrete,
your feet on a plate of shoes,
your legs on a plate of your misfortune.
You tune the strings of your head to affect your foolish delight,
you bury a skull—you’d rather not bear.
You heap yourself on a slate that claims whiteness due to a fistful of flour—
and you ferment.
You swell and puff your sadness like a hot loaf

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Much thanks and appreciation to whoever created this and put it online.

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Preparing wild vegetables, photo by Samya Kullab

I continue to see that people land on my blog searching variations of “what do refugees eat?”  Thanks to the brilliant journalist Annia Clezadlo for recommending an article from the IRIN website.  Here is a link to this great, nitty-gritty piece that asks displaced individuals how they and their families manage each month on meager savings and cash assistance.  “We don’t make difficult decisions with our money, we make difficult sacrifices.”  You’ll also see really interesting photographs to go with each person’s story. In the context of the current news of starvation under siege, these poverty rations feel rich.  How much must people suffer? Pray for peace and justice, work for peace and justice.

AID TO SYRIANS: HOW FAR DOES IT GO?

By Samya Kullab, IRIN, 25 November 2015

http://newirin.irinnews.org/refugee-aid-how-far-does-it-go/

 

Help if you can via this YouCaring crowdfunder and share this post.

These videos offer an inspiring introduction to the solidarity work around food in “the Jungle” camp in Calais, and those cooking, distributing and making it possible there for people to do this themselves as well. The refugees are from many places in the world, and it’s clear that most are fleeing terrible violence and have had quite a rough journey to get to where they now are.

Here’s a video showing how volunteers are working with the diversity and specificity of the people in the camp; you can feel the urgency:

 

This one shows the development of Kitchen in Calais:

 

This one what your group might want to contribute in terms of food donations:

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Lots of people seem to wind up on my blog, say the WordPress stats, looking for information about what Syrian refugees eat.  I have no personal knowledge about this, though I did a while back reblog some information that is now probably pretty obsolete pertaining to refugees in Lebanon.  That’s why you might end up here on my site.

I assume that people who ask these questions of internet search engines (maybe Siri can somehow learn as well) inquire from a place of compassion and concern, and perhaps the wish to contribute, donate, or volunteer.  Hence this post.

Some links: Read the rest of this entry »

Amazing loving solidarity work, feeding people in the refugee encampments in the cold, wet muddiness on the outskirts of Calais. Reblogging from ThatCan’tBeRightBlog.  Please share in your networks.

thatcantberightblog

food van

There are around 7,000 people living in the Calais refugee camp just across the water from us. They each have their own story to tell about the loved ones they have left behind, the terror they have fled from and the epic journeys they have undertaken to end up in a holding pen with very little to their names.

As governments and NGOs, to their shame, have turned their backs, individuals have come forward to take a stand. A motley crew of devoted volunteers is working as you read this to provide the basics of food and shelter to cold and hungry people who arrive in camp every day.

Over the last month, the kitchens on camp have come together under the umbrella of Calais Kitchens with the aim of making sure everyone in camp can get at least one hot meal a day. We are changing the way food…

View original post 1,243 more words

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