Sunday, April 25, 2010

Notes from the Past - Middle Eastern Salad

So I'm bringing an Israeli Salad to dinner tonight with some friends, and Phil asked what was in it. Here are the ingredients:

Olive Oil
Lemon Juice

I then proceeded to comment on how I've also eaten the same salad from many different Middle Eastern countries. I've had Turkish Salad, Omani Salad, Lebanese Salad, etc. You get the picture. It is, for all intensive purposes, a truly Middle Eastern salad.

Phil then suggested that this salad could be the "cornerstone for building peace". In my jaded experiences with peace in the Middle East, I began to rant (typical, right):

Or the salad could be another excuse for making war.
"You stole my salad! No you stole my salad! It was my salad first! No, it was my salad first! We were here before you, no we were here before you, oh yea, well we lived here longer, oh yea, but God said it was ours first..."

I think you see my point. Phil then said that this outlook was pretty sad and that the Middle Eastern countries should take a lesson from the different parts of the salad and live together in harmony in one crunchy goodness. And it made me think for a minute - shouldn't the Middle Eastern countries unite in peace with what makes them similar instead of what tears them apart? How can so many people who have the same origins, believe systems, God and same "father" only focus on what makes them different which causes hatred and bloodshed? Why not unite in what brings them together? The Middle Eastern Salad - which ever country you want it to come from, it doesn't taste right unless it contains all of the necessary ingredients.

Welll, to continue with this analogy, the Middle East won't taste good or function properly as a region until all of the ingredients except each other as sovereign nations and bind together as one crunchy goodness of an amazing region of the world. The Middle Eastern Salad won't taste right if there is no tomato or olive oil. Well, imagine the Middle East without the state of Israel or the future country of Palestine? It wouldn't taste right.

I wish we could all take a step back from our different beliefs and see the Middle East with new eyes. Look at the region as a whole, not as separate parts. Give each nation the sovereignty they deserve, then take all of those nations and see them as the Middle East. Each nation plays a specific role in the salad and if one is missing, it just won't taste the same. If we want peace to happen in the Middle East and stability throughout the region, we need each to play its part in the crunchy goodness of the Middle Eastern Salad.

If we could change the names of the Israel, Turkish, Omani, Lebanese Salad into the Salam-Shalom Salad…maybe then we’d get somewhere.

...And I know that everyone can come together over some good food...

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