I am finally resurfacing, out of Berlin for a couple of days before going to Cairo. I have never had such poor access to the internet as during the last week! But will now resume blogging as usual. I trust the Cairo hotel will have a connection in the room.
The past few days have been very intense. Terra Madre was interesting but a bit too similar to last time, in 2006. Except that this time, I gave a presentation, and then chaired a session, and had an article in the Slow Food almanac that came out at the same time.
In Berlin I gave a paper on food security and conflict with special focus on the Arab Middle East to a small group of German development experts from GTZ, the Green Party, the World Food Program, etc... I have a powerpoint presentation but to cut a long story short, the outcomes of the discussions were that while conflicts cause food insecurity, the reverse is not necessarily true. To rebell in a sustained way groups must have the capacity to organise and the necessary minimal political freedom to do so. Yes riots may emerge spontaneously, but they will be quickly put down: the Arab regimes have created a repressive military apparatus uniquely for this purpose. I will write about this in my forthcoming Badael editorial.