A small but inconspicuous article appeared in the al-Nahar newspaper in Lebanon (Their English edition on the Internet is called Naharnet) detailing a Hummus war between proud Lebanese citizens and as proud Israeli citizens (defiant I might add because I believe Lebanese Hummus tastes better than Israeli Hummus) in which size matters more than taste.
The war has been going on for over a year with each country preparing a larger and more elaborate Hummus feast.
Taste is, of course, what makes Hummus so popular but one finds it hard to explain why Lebanese and Israelis cannot compete face-to-face in either country over taste as much as over who has the better or biggest Hummus platter. As thankful as some of us are over a “War of Hummus” than a “War of Missiles” between the two nations, we look forward to such wars happening live rather than through the media.
But like all people who are born in the Middle East, it takes us no time to politicize even the smallest detail of an otherwise harmless and funny “war” between free people of two neighboring countries.
Consider this paradox: People from two juxtaposed democracies are battling it out with who has the best Hummus when a terrorist organization like Hezbollah and a terrorist regime like Assad are exchanging missiles and building nuclear reactors. If this does not show that those representing the Lebanese and the Syrian States are so out of touch with reality, then I am befuddled to find a better explanation. These rulers simply do not represent us.
The day a Syrian-Israeli Falafel war competing over who has a better tasting Falafel or who can prepare the largest Falafel sandwich is the day real peace will be possible. The Lebanese-Israeli Hummus war is unstoppable by oppressive rulers and organizations because it represents the will of two free peoples, the basis upon which one can build peace voluntarily not forcibly.