My State of Justice…

 

My state of justice

Something popped into my head as I was involved in some discussions about the possible solutions to our conflict. As my head is spurring from Plato to Dante, and my brain and emotions swift between the perfect state the consequences in a divine comedy, things seemed possible after all.

This could be a very unacceptable view for all sides. To avoid being judgmental and start with assuming that the other will not accept. I have to put my papers on the table directly, the first opponent to my idea was my daughter, then my sister, then my other daughter, then my other sister. To start with it was impossible to continue with explaining my smart evolutionary idea because after the second sentence my Palestinian fellow would jump and refuse to listen.

I kept tempting them, that if they continued to the end, it would be a great deal… but …no interest.

Something else I realized from my piloting to this idea for a few days with my fellow family members, a significant question we Palestinians need to face ourselves with, what do we want?

Do we want a Palestinian state with the Palestinian leadership, or do we want a Palestinian state with Israeli given civil services?

As the discussion exploded from its beginning with my daughter, I tried to prove myself right in cornering her with the civil services concerning sovereignty, and she was straight in saying that she does not want to be ruled by the Palestinian leadership, insisting that she did not choose this current leadership. They do not represent her.

What my daughter mentions is what the street feels as well. However, how do we make our choices? We want a Palestinian state; we need to be responsible for our decisions. We cannot create a Palestinian leadership from the perfect space. After all, these people are from us, and they are a reflection of our needs and desires… well.. they turn into nightmares… but they are ou choice… like a bad marriage.

There is a lot of what came out before I even went on with my magic solution. One can only imagine what the Israelis will think… I have to admit that I was biased because I started with the discourse in asking the Palestinians to accept what they don’t want to see… the legitimacy of the state of Israel in being.

Ok…

Let’s start with the common ground of how we want to achieve the just world- state. The united nations. I don’t also like the united nations, but there are some factors we cannot bypass. We Palestinians stand out to the world in every major and minor issue and ask for recognition and justice through the UN. We pray for the application of the UN resolutions starting from 181 and ending with the one that recognized us as a state.

One important thing we need to accept and work accordingly fully is that as this UN a resolution created the state of Israel within the real decision we want to apply.

Yes, creating a state for Jewish people on land that had people was not the best choice.. for the people who were there. And we those people did not make things very easy . but the UN created this resolution, we the Ottoman Empire lost the war because we the people helped in that loss. The Arabs wanted a revolution against them, and they got their nation states.

In between, some details are primary, but of course, we skipped… Belfour and the Zionist conspiracy … well, that Zionist conspiracy did not only compose of jews. From day one apparently, those imperialist and colonizing countries could not pass anything without the acceptance of the Arab leadership. Back then it was sheriff Hussein of Hijaz. Whether we like him or not, we approve him or not. We allowed him to get us the Arab nations we wanted … and of course, that should have been a good deal.. after all the Arabs were part of a losing falling empire.

We all know about Belfour promise to the jews, and we of course decline and refuse his pledge, yes it is true that it was a war and we were on the losing side, Britain was controlling the scene. They won we lost.

Not precisely we lost … because we wanted the ottomans to disappear. And they did…

It does not matter if we all agreed or not. It does not matter if many were against this. What matters is that those who bargained on the future of the people of the region were also from us.

Before one also tells me that who is Hussein of Hijaz? Well.. this was the choice of the famous hallucinating epic of what we know of Lawrence of Arabia.

This man not only represented us, but we followed him with his Arab revolution. So we are responsible.

Of course, who is we is another thing .. but here we have this historical collective responsibility.

Our enemy was not one … it was not Britain giving birth to Israel on our account only … Britain did this with the Arab leadership agreement.

Little we know of the agreement between Hussein and Weizmann in 1919 as Arabs. We don’t even know that this agreement existed. Of course, the man was tricked, and they gave him a translation of something and made him sign something else. But the man got an expensive watch and a car, and he wandered with them in the desert proudly.

We Palestinians were the sacrifice of the creation of the other four Arab nation states that Hussein was promised to have. The deal was closed and signed.

We the people did not know….

Is something else…

We the people did not change much since then.

I can imagine we applauded for Hussein and the Arab revolt, as much as we praised for Oslo.

Here again … the collective is responsibility, and it does not matter if we those who keep saying we did not choose chose or not … in the end, we accepted by not being strong enough to resist or say no…

Anyway, this is all history.

The un gave the jews a state, and they also gave us a statement on the same land.

Yes, we did not agree. And yes, we would not have accepted now … you don’t bring a stranger to my land and tell me he is my fellow new landlord… in the best scenario of course… because the colonial side of this was not the fellow landlord. He was here to be my landlord in my land.

Anyway…

We are in 2018, and all scenarios of possible states and no state solutions failed.

It is not also easy for me as a Palestinian to open my eye wide and admit that those Israelis are here and they are staying …and well.. they do have a narrative.

This narrative is getting stronger and more human.

Some twenty-thirty years ago, I was always superior to the debate, where are you form is the first question that takes my opponent out because he is likely to be from somewhere else before taking my land.

Now, Israelis my age have been born here. Their children are born here, their grandchildren as well.

In ten-twenty years when my grandchild ask an Israeli child where is he from, he and his father and his grandfather and maybe his great-grandfather are from here. If his great grandfather, for instance, is Netanyahu, he is very rooted he will think. ..and he is ….

Since my real belief stands on the grounds of justice, and justice for me will be based on three significant facts: two people, two states, on land.

Both people believe they have the right to be here.

Both people are here.

Both people want their state.

Both people should live on the same land.

I believe that there is space for everyone…

I know there is a problem,

Israelis want a Jewish state where all the jews can live

Palestinians want a Palestinian Arab state where all Palestinians can live.

Well.. we have a tip here, the un resolution 181 says this .. and they kind of split the land into two 48, or 49 percent to 52, or 53 percent will not be an issue when we all believe and decide that this land is for all of us.

We can have two states with separate governments in every city; each state will be given the same opportunities and resources. No borders will be assigned, each citizen of each country will be living in his same geographical place. I live in Jerusalem, I stay in Jerusalem, I receive the same services and benefits, and I pay my taxes, and I vote for my council that is Palestinian. And the Israeli will do the same to the Israeli side.

I live in Nablus, and Israeli lives in Ariel, the same. Two governates, councils, whatever we call them, and each citizen will belong to his government .palestinians for Palestine and Israelis for jews.

If Israel wants its state Jewish .. they are free to do this so that it will be Israel for the jews,

And Palestinians and Israeli Arabs will be with Palestine.

If I live in Haifa, I am a Palestinian living in Palestine. If the Israeli lives in Haifa, he is also an Israeli living in Palestine.

Each state will have its constitution where they will design the country they want.

So in the end, we will have, 20 million Jews, and 20 million Palestinians.

I still believe there is enough space for all. Refugees are free to come back to their original places. If the area is occupied a committee of reconciliation and compensation will be created to all those case. The committee is composed of a group of wise people from both sides.

Everyone is free to come and live here on the land of Palestine and the land of Israel in whatever we want to call.

One condition only,

Citizens of Palestine and citizens of Israel are only allowed to single citizenship.

You can only be Israeli or Palestinian. You can have other nationality, no dual citizenships in the state.

Those who want to live in this land with only one citizenship that belongs to this land Israel or Palestine are welcome….

I can only imagine who will want to stay and who decides to leave…

I think this is a real test for all those who claim their attachment and right to this land. We want national states … let’s go all the way.

Putting Tortillas on Mexico’s Tables Again

Irene Salvador arranges tortillas that she made on a table full of ears of corn of different varieties, during a forum on tortillas in Mexico City. An alliance has just emerged in the country to promote the production and consumption of this traditional food, due to its nutritional, social, economic and environmental benefits. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS

Irene Salvador arranges tortillas that she made on a table full of ears of corn of different varieties, during a forum on tortillas in Mexico City. An alliance has just emerged in the country to promote the production and consumption of this traditional food, due to its nutritional, social, economic and environmental benefits. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS

By Emilio Godoy
MEXICO CITY, May 30 2018 (IPS)

Agronomist Irene Salvador decided to learn the process of making corn tortillas in order to preserve and promote this traditional staple food in the Mexican diet, which has lost its presence and nutritional quality.

“I wanted to make my own experience. It has been very enriching, because I have regained knowledge and learned other things. I also did it because of the situation we are living in, importing food and renouncing our staple foods,” she told IPS.

Salvador began making tortillas in March, after harvesting four tons of blue-grain maize on two hectares of land on a family farm in the municipality of Juchitepec, in the state of Mexico, some 70 km southeast of the capital.

With this raw material, she has produced by hand every week up to 30 kg of tortillas, which are a round, fine and flat dough made with nixtamalised corn, which in different preparations has long been part of the meals in this Latin American country.”New generations are losing the right to a quality tortilla. Consumption of tortillas in Mexico is dropping at an alarming rate, because the tortilla has changed, and there is easier access to processed food and junk food.” — Rafal Mier

She sells them in her home in the municipality of Magdalena Contreras, one of the 16 boroughs that make up Mexico City, in the south of the capital, and is now thinking about buying a machine to expand her production.

Salvador, who toured four states to learn about the process and has invested about 6,000 dollars, struggled to sell the product in her neighbourhood, but as buyers began to try it, demand started growing.

The new Alliance for Our Tortilla, launched this month by organisations of food producers, corn planters and academics, is aimed at enterprises like hers.

The aim is to promote the activity and spread a traditional form of low-cost nutrition in this country of 130 million inhabitants. The tortilla, in different presentations, has become part of the gastronomy of many other countries, but it is becoming less and less part of the everyday life of many Mexican tables.

“New generations are losing the right to a quality tortilla. Consumption of tortillas in Mexico is dropping at an alarming rate, because the tortilla has changed, and there is easier access to processed food and junk food,” one of the promoters of the alliance, Rafael Mier, told IPS.

“The alliance seeks to reverse this situation,” said Mier, who is the director of the non-governmental Mexican Corn Tortilla Foundation.

The basic tenets of the alliance include the consumption of native grains, a fair price for tortillas, the defence of nixtamalisation – the ancestral technique for preparing maize to be made into tortillas – and the nutritional benefits of tortillas.

In 2017, five non-governmental organisations launched the “I want my tortilla 100 percent nixtamalised” campaign, in another initiative to save the product in which members of the new alliance took part.

Pre-Columbian heritage

Nixtamalisation, a combination of the Nahuatl words “nextli” (ash) and “tamalli” (corn dough), is the technique of cooking the grain with calcium hydroxide or lime, which dates back to the time before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in Mexico in the 15th century.

This method neutralises aflatoxins, a type of micro-toxins produced by certain fungi in acrops such as maize, which can contaminate grains on the plant, during harvest or in storage, and can cause various types of cancer, according to scientific studies.

In addition, the cooking opens the grain cuticle which releases vitamins and facilitates the absorption of nutrients during its consumption.

Georgina Trujillo checks the white maize that she is cooking in the back room of the Cintli tortilla factory in Mexico City. The nixtamalisation of maize, which is cooked for hours with water and lime, releases its nutritional properties. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS

Georgina Trujillo checks the white maize that she is cooking in the back room of the Cintli tortilla factory in Mexico City. The nixtamalisation of maize, which is cooked for hours with water and lime, releases its nutritional properties. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS

The Mexican dough and tortilla industry encompasses around 80,000 establishments, including mills and tortilla factories or combinations of the two, accounting for one percent of the country’s GDP.

With the nixtamalisation process, one kg of maize becomes two kg of dough.

Maize is the staple food of Mesoamerica, the region that stretches from central Mexico down to Costa Rica. In Mexico, some 60 varieties of maize are grown, and the white, yellow, blue, red and bicolored grains – among others – are used to make tortillas.

But consumption of tortillas has dropped to less than half in Mexico: from 170 kg a year per person in the 1970s to 75 kg today, as fast food has expanded and eating habits have changed.

In February, official figures indicated that in the last year, adding the two harvest cycles, the country produced 23.8 million tonnes of white maize and imported 912,000 tonnes. Some12.9 million tonnes were used by people, of which 5.07 million were for self-consumption, and the rest was for export, seeds and livestock.

The harvest of yellow corn, mainly destined for industrial use, amounted to additional 3.04 million tonnes, while imports reached a historic 14.37 million.

Undernourishment and obesity

Advocates say increasing tortilla consumption can help Mexico achieve its goals of ending poverty, reaching zero hunger, and boosting health, well-being, responsible production and consumption and healthy terrestrial ecosystems, within the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be met by 2030.

In 2016, when the SDGs began to be implemented, there were 53.4 million people living in poverty in Mexico, including 9.4 million in extreme poverty, according to the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy. There were a total 24.6 million undernourished people.

In adolescents aged 12 to 19, the prevalence was 36 percent, and in adults aged 20 years and older, 72 percent.

By contrast, the National Health and Nutrition Survey Mid-way 2016 found a prevalence of overweight and obesity in the five to 11 age group, of 33 percent that year.

In adolescents aged 12 to 19, the prevalence was 36 percent and in adults aged 20 years and older, 72 percent.

The survey also found, among the three age groups, low proportions of regular consumption of most of the recommended food groups, such as vegetables, fruits and legumes.

Against this backdrop, several initiatives have emerged in the last two years to support the tortilla.

José Castañón also went through a learning process in the southern state of Oaxaca to learn about the relationship between maize and tortillas.

“I began to wonder: why not do something similar in Mexico City? I look for the junction between organic production, nutritional culture and fair trade. People come here because of values and health,” he told IPS.

Parallel to his audiovisual work, Castañón inaugurated in November 2017 the “Cintli” (ear of corn in Nahuatl) tortilla factory in a western neighbourhood of the capital, where he sells white and blue grain products from the municipality of Vicente Guerrero, in the southern state of Tlaxcala, including 16 varieties of tortillas.

The business, in which he has invested about 25,000 dollars and where two other people also work, processes about 70 kg of maize a day and sells retail tortillas to organic shops and restaurants, as well as dishes made with maize.

While the sector is committed to strengthening the culture of corn and tortillas, with initiatives such as the alliance, Salvador lamented that “there is a lack of information on the importance of the tortilla, and we really need it, because we are in the process of losing awareness.”

For Mier, the solution lies in tackling the marketing and supply of the grain. “Talking about differentiated markets and paying a reasonable price, encouraging more tortilla factories to use native maize,” he said.

According to Castañón, whose next move is to sell tortillas over the internet, it is necessary to promote the nutritional benefits of tortillas and the variety of flavours. “The issue must be put on the national agenda in an informed manner,” he said.

The post Putting Tortillas on Mexico’s Tables Again appeared first on Inter Press Service.