Last Updated: Wed Jul 27, 2011 23:53 pm (KSA) 20:53 pm (GMT)

Noora Faraj: Food for peace

Internally displaced Somali children line up to receive food aid at a food distribution center in Mogadishu, Somalia. (File Photo)
Internally displaced Somali children line up to receive food aid at a food distribution center in Mogadishu, Somalia. (File Photo)

I don’t think it’s only Somalia that’s suffering from famine, but the entire world. That thought occurred to me when someone at the office was celebrating their marriage, and had a traditional sweet treat delivered to be shared amongst colleagues. Within a matter of minutes, people from various departments flocked to the saccharine hub, and smiles and nods of the head passed around as paper plates did.

On a normal day, the various sections of the floor would have basic communication, sometimes a corridor conversation, no more, no less, as I have observed. But when the topic switches to gastronomy, it also manifests as a universal language.

In many cultures, food is the center of social interaction. Families reunite, friends catch up from every corner of the city, country or globe, and figureheads meet each other’s acquaintances over a meal.

The key concept that equates to the availability of food is harmony. The sound of someone declaring a meal has been served, or the smell wafting across a room, like a hunter seducing its prey, has an undeniable effect on bringing people closer, and stimulating mutual discourse.

I would like to think that the real solution to world peace is a mass feast. It’s a comforting thought that people would push their disputes aside and tuck into a mountainous heap of rice, fighting over the last piece of meat and vegetables rather than land.

(Noora Faraj, Senior Producer at Web TV at Al Arabiya English, can be reached at: noora.faraj@mbc.net)

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