First order of business: We need to ask for your ghfir. This past month and a half, Al Jazeera English has consumed all our bandwidth, in every sense of the phrase. We've been so focused on the uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa that we actually had to get the next bigger package from our ISP. And how we've been using it! (Are you in the Al Jazeera-deprived United States? Demand it!) Also, Deborah's in her final term of her undergraduate degree, and since she's already accepted her grad school offer (!), has to make sure she completes everything this term. We're sorry it's been so long since our last post. But we promise you more stuff to come, and on a more regular schedule, insha'Allah.
The awesomely researched and written blog, The Arabist, has a great article on the food that fuels the Libyan revolution. Let's see… it needs to be fast, easy to transport, have a long shelf life, rapidly consumable, high energy, and oh yeah – as tasty as all get-out. That can only be one thing: junk food. And what's more symbolic of rebellion and freedom than Twinkies?
Seriously – the rebels are turning to junk food. All organized movements always come down to logistics. Don't have the right logistics, and you won't have any movements. (Go on, take a moment.) So in addition to some traditional Libyan foods, including fava beans, pasta, rice, and chicken, the groups are feasting on Twinkies, Snickers bars, and other fast-pack/fast-eat/fast-energy junk food and juice boxes. They're loving it.
Let's hope it's just a temporary thing, and they don't get this into their heads.
So that got us thinking (and by "us" I mean Deborah) – what should rebels eat? Apart from "whatever comes to hand?" But there's a point at which they need proper nutrition to function effectively and kick tyrant ass. One can only operate on Twinkies so long before that lovely oozy non-dairy vanilla cream filling just sets your teeth on edge and damages your brain.
The answer, for rebels and others who don't have the luxury of choice many of us have in our world of western comfort, might be a simply brilliant product by Campbell's. Yes, Campbell's, the soup people. In addition to the Canadian subsidiary certifying certain soups halal (for which they took heat from uber-hateful idiot queen Pamela Geller, who "bravely" suggested a boycott – please buy more of their soup if for no other reason than to vex her), the wonderful people at Campbell Canada created Nourish, a complete meal in a can. It's meant to be a healthy option for users of food banks. According to the Toronto Star's Jennifer Bain, the protein-rich meal contains a Canadian supergrain called naked oats and a full serving of vegetables and grains. It's halal, comes in vegetarian and chicken versions, and is designed to be eaten even unheated. Further evidence of knowing your market and exercising intelligence? You can open it without a can opener, and it doesn't need to be mixed with water (making it ideal for disaster zones, such as Japan, where concerns about tap water radiation are increasing).
They are donating the first 100,000 cans to Food Banks Canada. With your help they can double the donations. Just visit and "like" the Campbell Canada Facebook page; doing so will trigger up to 100,000 more donations by May 31, Hunger Awareness Day. Every time you like or comment on their page, watch or share their short video, or tweet with the hashtag #Nourish, they'll donate another can.
The product will be in stores later this year, selling for around $4 CDN/can, with net profits heading back toward more donations.
We don't know how to get Nourish to Libya, or the rest of the Arab Spring countries (although Egyptian protesters seem to have figured out how to send pizza to Wisconsin!) but you can help Campbell's soup be a symbol of care and dignity right here at home. Put your money where your mouth is: encourage Campbell Canada to keep producing decent--and halal--food.
(On a mobile device? Click here to view the video.)