Food in times of crisis

Posted: 28 June 2011 in Uncategorized
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David Sutton [ht: mfa] notes that food is at the center of contemporary financial crises and protests.

Thedoros Pangalos, the portly deputy prime minister of Greece. . .recently claimed that all Greeks have to pay for the current financial Crisis because “we all ate together.” This expression intrigued me, as it showed the different metaphors used in different countries in Europe to express the idea of sharing the blame. In Ireland, the claim was “we all partied,” whereas in the U.K. it was the more anodyne “we’re all in it together. The food theme, however, resonated in Greece. In Athens in May of this year protest over the so-called “debt crisis” was not framed explicitly in terms of food issues. Taking their inspiration from protestors in Spain, Greeks gathering in the central Constitution Square dubbed themselves the “outraged,” to express their frustration with a political system and a global economic system that had led the country to hopeless solutions that punished ordinary people without touching the wealthy that had brought the system to its current state. But protestors were quick to respond to Pangalos’ claim: after a man wearing a mask of the deputy prime minister repeated the line to the crowd of thousands, their response barely missed a beat: You lying bastard!” They roar back. “You’re so fat you ate the entire supermarket.”

Foreign Policy has also noted the significance of food, especially soaring food prices, in relation to protests in the Middle East and elsewhere.

And then there were the passengers who found a place to sleep after being stranded by the curfew at Cairo airport:

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