"Am I speaking with Aaron Barnea? "The Spanish of the voice on the other side of the line was clear and pristine. "I am Samuel Perea, chef of a Restaurant in Málaga and I would like to invite you to come over to Malaga, where we will launch an initiative of gastronomic cooperation of people around the Mediterranean symbolizing a common effort towards peace. The idea is to have with us in Málaga two bereaved mothers who will be ready to appear in public and tell their story. I am also inviting Henrique Cymerman, the outstanding journalist for his distinguished service in presenting to the Spanish public the realities of the Middle East. I would very much appreciate if you two would be ready to appear at our local university and speak about your approach to peace and reconciliation."
This was the way how the PCFF became involved in this unique initiative, which expresses basically the idea that: a. The Mediterranean, the old Roman Mare Nostrum, was and is a joint platform of many cultures, which have many things in common – similar landscapes, prime materials and products, same Southern light, many chapters of intertwining history. Food and food preparation is not only an answer to a basic human need, the need of nutrition, but also the idea of a more refined and creative human need. This need inspires dialogue and mutual curiosity and understanding. Samuel Perea understood that, and launched his initiative, gathered together two additional chefs – Victor Gloger , the Israeli Chef and co-owner of "Cloelys" a prestigious restaurant in Ramat Gan (I must confess that I discovered it in Málaga…) and Ahmad Nawaf, the Chef of the famous "Darna" restaurant in Ramallah. In both of them all the who's and who's of both societies and their foreign friends and associates pleasantly spend their time between big decision making and taking.
All three chefs prepared together a menu which was celebrated by the most selected group of Malaguenian citizens, lead by the Mayor of the town Mr. Francisco de la Torre.
Samuel Perea, Spanish chef with Victor Gloger (left), Israeli chef and Ahmad Nawaf, Palestinian chef
The presence of the PCFF was a major contribution to the series of events that Perea initiated in Malaga. Our delegation had an excellent opportunity to present itself at the special session that was held at the University of Malaga, in the frame of the Faculty of Communication and Journalism. The session was headed by the Rector and the Head of the Department and the two mothers, Eman and Tamara, appearing together ably showed the essence of our message. I had the opportunity too to share with the thoughtful public some of our ideas. I invited them to abandon “Partialism”, the approach of football fans, who blindly support “their “team. “We are not in a sports match”, I told them, “our match can only end with a mutual defeat. Reaching peace is the joint victory of us both. So your mission is to encourage dialog and negotiation, the encounter of the peoples. That is why this initiative is so important”. In this session, Henrique Cymerman, the outstanding journalist, who has become the main source of information about the Middle East for the Spanish public got a very special award, and brought a brilliant analysis of the uniqueness of “our” conflict, and the difficulties and challenges that covering it mean for a foreign journalist.
The same days we were hosted in Malaga, Robi and Siham, were present in Sevilla and in Madrid, where the “Cartoons in Conflict” exhibitions were inaugurated and the Friends of the PCFF was launched. This wide and very significant presence of the PCFF in Spain, the energetic and imaginative work of the President of the newly created “Friends of”, Federico Zukierman, are landmarks in the international presence of the PCFF and give us a founded hope that they will have also an important impact on our work on the ground in our region, which is what actually counts….!