Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Gilles Kepel in Kuwait

Did you know that the French "croissant" was actually the Viennese celebrating their victory against the Ottoman army and Vienna's bakers shaped their dough, in the symbol of Islam, the crescent?
Did you know that "cappucino" is a reference to robes of the capucines who lead the crusades? The coffee left behind by the arabs was felt as bitter, hence hot milk, hence the reference!
Did you know that before the Islamic revolution in Iran,  Khomeini, when in France at Neauphle le Chateau, was know for his sweet tooth and how local patissiers went on a frenzy of religieuses, charlottes and eclairs!

These anecdotes were given by Gilles Kepel, a professor at Institut des Sciences Politiques in Paris,  in his lecture at the DAI in Kuwait on Middle eastern history.  Of course, one's own history seen by a French scholar is always interesting as he might highlight a few angles that are usually dark. He then gave the insight and  benefits of having nuclear power in the gulf, thanks to the French technology, as one major deterrent to the nuclear built across the Gulf in Iran. He tried to cheer to the motto of independence and autonomy in the region as a way to unlock Uncle Sam's grip on the oil and petrodollars.
He claims that one has to think diagonally and in a synchronized manner! yes, maybe after thinking straight and forward, and it all depends on the variables chosen as the base.
Contemporary decisions cannot be made as reproduction of the past based on elements of fear and alliances based on threat and pressure. Maybe he could have given us a lecture on food in relation to the Middle Eastern history and leave us with a few recipes to improve our current cooking "avec le french touch" rather than the proposal of a nuclear plant tucked in the desert as a solution to all ailments.

No comments: