For rule, for glory, for reputation, for food…
So it has come to this – war. In Israel it began in the streets, between neighbors and co-workers, fathers and sons. Who would take the title? Who would rule? For years, Abu Shukri was the favored king – only then to be rivaled by Abu Hassan of Yafo (Jaffa), Said in Akko (Acre), and Abu Ghosh in Jerusalem.
On the international stage, we see even more players vying for domination, shipping their pre-packaged recipes to wealthy foreign buyers. Sabra, Tribe, Miki.
This is a war of legitimacy, of who is authentic, and in the end, of who will claim the most followers.
On a quiet, sun drenched afternoon, a typical Middle Eastern day, a confused local stands in the middle of a small dirt road. A faithful patron, for years he had turned to face the East before taking sustenance from the table of Abu Shukri. Today, there is a new sign to his West, hanging over a similar doorway, which reads, “we moved here. This is the real Abu Shukri”. Chatter in the street reveals that behind this westerly door is actually a defector from Abu Shukri, and that it happens to be his own son-in-law at that! The following day, the old establishment (the eastern door) hung a stubborn and indignant sign that read, “We didn’t move anywhere. This is the real Abu Shukri”. In only a matter of days, the rebels had garnered enough resources and chutzpah to escalate the situation. Over the Western-door, hung a large banner that declared unilaterally, “The real real one and only original Abu Shukri”.
Years of confusion, division, and guerrilla activity followed. Before long, the global media-marketing machine steps in to pinch off its portion of the profits. A large food corporation decided to exploit the conflict, in order to promote its own brand, through a TV campaign. The campaign ended in a dramatic finale, in which the two Abu Shukri camps, East and West, achieved reconciliation, entitled “The End of Hummus Wars”. (Abu Shukri research credit to The Guardian, UK.)
Like many nobly intentioned peace efforts, the grand title “The End of Hummus Wars” was proven to be another case of singing before the fat lady. Today, the conflict has escalated beyond local borders and into the region, as the Hummus wars rage on between Israel and Lebanon – this time the battle is for who can make the most hummus in one location. Late in 2009, Lebanon celebrated a taste of victory after 250 chefs produced 4,500 pounds of hummus in one vat, landing them a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. Not to be outdone, about 50 Jewish and Arab chefs collaborated in Israel’s village of Abu Ghosh, soon besting the latest Lebanese effort by producing 8,800 pounds of hummus.
As combatants seem to have a taste for more, it is unlikely that hostilities will subside in the near future. Some experts, including David Gibson, of Politics Daily, warn of further regional complications, “If it gets much bigger, the hummus could stake a claim to statehood, which would really complicate the Middle East peace process.” Both the State Department, and Vice President Biden, have yet to comment on official U.S. policy going forward, in the face of looming prospects of establishing the sovereignty Hummusstan.
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