LEBANON – The unity market

The idea comes from the Lebanese cook - activist Kamal Mouzawak that together with some small farmers and producers around the country founded in 2004, the weekly eco-friendly market Souk.Tayeb, in the capital, Beirut. The project was originally created to protect small producers by providing them a fair market for their products and thus to spread the culture of quality local produce. The idea was soon developed much larger than expected by incorporating other projects and promoting a process of unity and cultural exchange; discovering the identity of a country like Lebanon starting from food.


The basic idea, in fact, is to bring together people who normally never meet because of different religions or political ideas. "The point is to see what is beyond the differences and to find a common denominator; maybe we have found it: the land, the product of the land, the food and the cuisine!" says Mouzawak and reiterates that after the civil war that ravaged Lebanon "people in the Middle East must put aside their religious positions or national identities and should instead look at the humanity of each one, this is the biggest problem. "Today at the market in Souk.Tayeb, if one were to ask one of the sellers of which religion he is, it is easy to be told that it isn’t a nice question, because it is not important of which religion you are, as we are all one family. There has been too much suffering because of this question, and now you have to turn the page and look to what unites us, because "in the conflicts people lose humanity"


The protagonists are Lebanese women, Syrian refugees who are trying to find their dignity; once they arrived in Lebanon without knowing anything but how to feed their children and their families, they cook for them every day, this can become the strong point on which to focus; so we try to exploit the gifts and abilities that each of them possesses so that they can take control of their lives and give meaning to their existence. In conclusion, through the cuisine and culinary traditions, we are trying to redraw the map of this people and rebuild its Identity:


One of the side projects to the market is the Taoulet '' (table) restaurant, opened by Mouzawak in 2009, where women both Syrian, and Lebanese, wives of local producers, participate in a culinary training of two months, at the end of which each of them can express themselves every day by cooking. Paid employment with adequate wages, this talks about their region and its culinary tradition. ''we thought we'd learn about the cuisine of small producers" says Mouzawak ''After having brought the country to the city I thought I'd learn about the traditions of the villages through a series of local festivals (Food and Feast ). Then they came out of a series of educational projects in schools and universities .''


In a short time, from a small insight a number of major projects have arisen and have become exemplary for the entire Middle East which embody the ideal of Mouzawak" often when we think about the diversity we think about a problem, a conflict or a war, but everything (the projects that have been realized) shows that we can go further, find a common ground of ethics and humanity; a universal humanity."


by Good Day World news