Thursday, October 24, 2013
The Sweetness, the Sorrow
Za'atar [a spice mix consisting of powdered dried hyssop leaves, ground sumac, toasted sesame seeds and salt, part and parcel of the Palestinian heritage] has now also become central to modern Israeli cuisine. Regrettably, za'atar has joined the long list of thorny subjects poisoning the fraught relationship between Arabs and Jews, when the Israeli authorities declared the herb an endangered species and banned picking of it in the wild. Though a compelling argument was made about preserving the dwindling population of wild za'atar, the decree was taken without any form of dialogue with the Arabs, who see it as a deliberate violation of their way of life.
Not even this pleasure, this memory of spice in the mouth, can be allowed. From the smallest seed to the huge gray wall, the Israeli State crushes Palestinian possibilities for pleasure. I stir my pot with sadness at this huge petty insult to human life.