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Peace on Earth? But There’s a Garlic War (Really)

Peace on Earth?  But There’s a Garlic War (Really)
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By Onnik Krikorian for Global Voices Online

As Armenia and Turkey come to blows over a UNESCO decision to enter a meal eaten in both countries into its list of Intangible Heritage, the dispute over food now appears to have spread to once again include Azerbaijan.

Locked into a bitter stalemate over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh, around 25,000 died in fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the early 1990s and a million forced to flee their homes. A lasting peace remains elusive.

No use for “common ground”

As a result, Armenians and Azerbaijanis naturally prefer to overlook the many similarities they share, but inter-ethnic rivalry over culture and tradition is perhaps most fierce over food. Kebabistan sets the scene.

Feeling burned by UNESCO’s decision, another group of Armenians is now taking steps to safeguard what they believe to be the Armenian lineage of tolma, stuffed grape leaves or other vegetables, which are frequently also served in Turkey, where they are known as dolma. . .

The Azeris, meanwhile, appear even more focused on protecting their cuisine from what they believe are Armenian efforts to encroach on their culinary territory. Azerbaijan has its own culinary watchdog, an organization called the National Cuisine Center, whose director, Tahir Amiraslanov, appears to spend most of his time on an effort to teach the world that Armenian cuisine is actually Azeri cuisine. . .

Stay tuned. In this food fight, there is clearly more to come…

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Featured photo from flickr, Page 2 photo by Liana Aghajanian

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4:57PM PST on Jan 7, 2012

They needed to put a second question up there:

"Do you care?"

Geez, just goes to show that some people just Need to fight about something!

11:48PM PST on Jan 2, 2012

The cultural wars have been going on for eons. I have had collegiate friends who have spoken of an Armenian genocide and persecution. These wars are actually on the same level as the religious-cultural wars of Serbia, Bosnia, etc...

Think it can't happen here? Think again. Look at the Republicans vs. Democrats, and how the Republicans are slashing health care, school funding, etc... then on top of which, the selfservatives hate the Mexicans so much that they want to close the borders and deport anyone who looks Hispanic "back to Mexico"...

1:03PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

Very strange.

11:10AM PST on Dec 27, 2011


7:29AM PST on Dec 27, 2011

It does sound like there are at least some on each side willing to appreciate the culture, and foods, of the other. So at least some hope for the future, even if a dim hope.

We should introduce them to the process of protecting foods, recipes, and even raw materials through laws, including copyrights, trademark protection, and patents. Just like we protect Vidalia onions from Georgia, and a myriad of other items.

5:58AM PST on Dec 27, 2011

"Everybody get together try to love one another right now"....

4:37PM PST on Dec 26, 2011


12:26PM PST on Dec 26, 2011

It's sad that these groups find the need to hate each other. Not just happening there but in so many parts of the world where as an outsider we look in and see no difference between the two groups, their foods a so similar and yet they use this petty thing to continue to fight instead of opening their hearts to the other. I hope that the hatred does not escalate further and will pray for that but like the Hatfields and the McCoys having such animosity instilled from birth it will be very hard.

5:09AM PST on Dec 26, 2011

Yes and thank you, Virginia B! This is not a war over garlic. For anyone who wishes to understand what this is really all about just google Armenian Genocide and France. Read about Turkeys response to the French decision to make denial of this genocide a crime-

10:28PM PST on Dec 25, 2011

Ohh grow up!

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