Laila kindly provided a translation of my akhbar article
A Temporary Revival
Ardy (My Land), an exhibition of traditional food products in Lebanon, closes today. It is the fifth year in a row that, Jihad al-Binaa, an affiliate of Hizbollah and one of the facets of the resistance, puts on the exhibition. From the beginning, My Land has been an extraordinary success. People from all over the country pour in to visit it, with visitor numbers exceeding the tens of thousands.
One of its most significant achievements has been to revive the concept of the “market” in the consciousness of the local people. This concept was becoming elitist, evident in the markets set up weekly in the Solidere area and Hamra street. It has also been a rare opportunity for many rural associations and co-operatives, particularly women’s, who now wait for the exhibition to sell the products they make during the year.
In addition, the exhibition plays a major role in preserving the traditional food culture through encouraging sales and consumption, as well as educating the upcoming generations on the importance of the countryside and the agricultural and food traditions.
For all these reasons, the exhibition strengthens the bond between man and land, one of the most important cornerstones of the resistance effort. But the exhibition alone cannot revive the countryside. Despite all the efforts made by charities and the agriculture ministry, the “market farmers” sector, i.e. the smallest producers for whom agriculture is the main source of income, is in constant decline. This leads to a decline in the importance of the countryside and its social role.
We cannot redress this reality through encouraging local trade or marketing traditional products, because most farmers’ lives are not effected by My Land exhibition or any other local markets. Very few of them will be saved from poverty as a result of these efforts. Reviving the countryside and protecting local farmers from poverty and deprivation require a more revolutionary approach than simple marketing. An approach that is fit for the Resistance.