Media advisory / photo call
Opening at 11am, 29 January 2016
Location: Place des Nations, 12020 Genève (in front of UN building)
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Syrian Soup Kitchen opens outside the UN
Healthy but malnutritious ‘siege specials’ for hungry negotiators
Syrian activists are launching a Soup Kitchen for beleaguered delegates settling in for the talks in Geneva today (Friday).
Serving up a list of ‘Siege Specials’, dishes include ‘soup with grass’, ‘soup with leaves’, and ‘soup with grass and leaves’.
Activists understand how exhausting so much talking can be, which is why they are offering this Syrian nouvelle cuisine for free, outside the gates of the Palais de Nations.
These dishes have been featured widely in the international press, including the New York Times, the Guardian and Le Monde.
Wearing masks of leaders including Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad the activists are setting up the Siege Soup Kitchen to protest the international community’s inaction on lifting sieges in Syria.
Activists have set up the soup kitchen to draw attention to the 1 million civilians who are living under the threat of starvation in 52 besieged areas in Syria.
The Syrian Soup Kitchen also features a direct line to culinary experts in besieged areas of Madaya and Moadamiya, where starving civilians can impart top tips to famished negotiators and journalists.
With the five-star luxury cuisine of the Geneva talks being notoriously underwhelming, these activist-turned-chefs hope to bring some Syrian spice to the proceedings. It will be suitable for those who are dieting in January, but the soups lack any kind of nourishment.
“We want to give something back. Everything we learned about siege cuisine was taught by the famously strict masterchef Bashar al-Assad, actively supported by Putin and quietly tolerated by the rest of the world” said Salma Kahale.
Shaadi al-Shahade, another Syrian activist, said: “We didn’t know how big this was going to be. We started in Homs in 2012 but now we’ve opened up in Douma, Moaddamiya, Daraya and most famously in Madaya.
“People are dying to get their hands on this stuff and it’s all down to the generosity of the Assad regime and its backers sitting in the United Nations today.”
Notes to Editors
- One million Syrians live under siege in Syria, deprived of food and medical care. Many of these civilians have resorted to eating siege soup to survive; soup with grass, leaves and other herbs. For further info on location and data on besieged areas see http://siegewatch.org
- Since the last UN convoy entered Madaya on 14 January 2016 15 more civilians have died of starvation (source Madaya Local Council)
- Spokespeople from Planet Syria will be in Geneva for next three days and will available for interviews in English and Arabic
- Planet Syria is a network of Syria’s leading civil society groups working for a free and peaceful Syria https://www.planetsyria.org/en