Breaking Bread: Syria’s Treasure and the Burning Wheatfields

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Janice Kortkamp, a great friend of Syria, writes movingly here of the deep significance of bread in Syrian life and the great crime of illegally occupying US troops burning wheat fields as well as the theft of Syrian wheat by Turkey:

I’ve described Syria as the most real place I’ve ever been and there is nothing more simply real than bread. To eat bread made with hands that have planted, nurtured, harvested, threshed, ground the wheat, made the dough, and baked it in a handmade oven – then served and shared, often with tea in a little glass cup that has no handle so your fingers have to dance a bit to keep from getting burned – is to have a bonding moment with your deep soul.

In the cities Syria is modern and cosmopolitan; however much of the country is villages, an agricultural life with the pace determined by harvests and seasons. For most people, whether in a city or village, the foundation of society is family: neighbors are family, celebrations are family, and work is family. Friends and visitors become family of the heart, and at the heart of meals is the bread. The bread is inexpensive – it feeds the poor and sustains all. It is an honor to be a guest breaking bread, one received with love and joy and above all, thanksgiving. The bread is life.

Much of the wheat is grown and harvested with modern technology of course and there are large production bread factories – but it’s still delicious. Heritage Syrian wheat seeds are prized and ones kept in a heritage seed facility in Aleppo have made their way to the US (surprise surprise) where they are being used to help strengthen American wheat and increase resistance to pests.

Meanwhile, US troops are illegally occupying one third of Syria’s land in the northeast; land that is not only home to many of the richest oil fields but also one of the major bread baskets – critical wheat fields – and I have had it confirmed that the American soldiers are deliberately burning some of these fields. At the same time, wheat harvested from the northwest where Turkey is illegally occupying with their forces, or with terrorist proxy forces, is being sent to Turkey. So much wheat being denied to Syrians themselves.

Can you understand the enormity of such crimes? Can you see why people curse America, its troops, and its scorched earth wars that have burnt up the hopes and futures of many countries?

Originally published (Janice Kortkamp, Facebook)

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