Greenbelt: Acts of the Imagination
You may not think that cooking a seabass would be a natural entry point to talking about the illegal blockade on Gaza and discussing the call to stop Arming Israel, but we discovered at Greenbelt that it was the most perfect way to bring people to the table to enjoy Palestinian culture and food while talking about the very difficult situation there.
We heard from various people how despite knowing a lot about the situation and despite visiting many times, they didn’t know that Palestinian fisherman in Gaza have a fishing restriction of just three nautical miles and are routinely attacked by the Israeli army. Now, thanks to the seabass that we stuffed and cooked they do.
We were lucky enough to have three cooking sessions hosted by Amos Trust where we cooked delicious food and spoke about Palestine, intertwining recipes, Phoebe’s personal family history as a displaced Palestinian and talking about the political situation and important topics such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and Morally Responsible Investment, as well ethical tourism and food as protest. We spoke to hundreds of people and brought so many new people to the struggle which was great.
Please read below for the recipes from the sessions and praise for the cooking sessions.
Praise for our cooking & advocacy sessions
“Your mix of food, political analysis and personal stories of Palestine were electric- you had us laughing one minute talking about your mother, crying the next talking about your displacement and then salivating as we could small the aubergine cooking. I loved all the recipes you made and will certainly be trying them!”
-John, Amos Supporter
“I was truly moved by your presentation. Such a brilliant vehicle to convey so much. And to hear the detail on Gaza [using the fish as a vehicle] was fantastic.”
-John, previous EAPPI EA and regular Greenbelter
“I thought I knew everything about Palestine and I have been many times, but your cooking sessions taught me so much- for example, I had no idea that there was a fishing restriction on Gaza on how far out they can go. Informative, funning, heart-breaking and delicious- thank you!”
“You and your stooge were a perfect double act- facts, fun, family history all in one short hour! Please take this show on tour and please make it longer!”
-Peter, long time Palestine supporter and activist
“Thank you so much for the cooking sessions as well as your discussion on boycott today. It is wonderful to think of food as protest. I have often argued that the destruction of culture is the greatest loss of all. Obviously the loss of human lives is horrible, but destroying the culture is to kill the soul of those people. Not everyone can stop the killing of innocents, but we can share their culture and therefore keep them alive in new ways.”
-Mathew, Greenbelt punter
“I didn’t know anything about Palestine or your charities. Your cooking sessions were such a good vehicle for talking about the issues in Palestine- I promise to try your recipes with my friends and use it as a door to talking about the situation in Palestine.”
-Rose, Greenbelt first timer
“If you didn’t see any of the “Phoebe and Chris” shows they were great – they made a super double act. We had so many positive comments – moving, insightful, and a lot of fun. I’m sure this was what you had in mind for this venue. Phoebe had an amazing ability to move seamlessly between cooking demo, personal stories of injustice and facts about the occupation with passion and humour.”
-Becca, Greenbelt Organiser
“We will be following these and also informing ourselves more on Palestine and the Amos Trust. We found your presentation extremely moving and informative while set in a genial and light hearted context – thank you so very much for your inspiration.”
Thank you so much for all of our friends, supporters, community members and trustees who came to Greenbelt to support our Advocacy Officer, Phoebe Rison and our Chair Chris Rose cook Palestinian food and talk about Palestine. Many Thanks to Phoebe’s Mama, Nadia Aranki-Stoves, for sharing her recipes with us.
Photos: Nick Welsh, Amos Trust