Monday, May 6, 2013

Indian bread and equality.

This is chapati, and I made this. And it´s really, really delicious. And simple.

I am very thankful we´re living in this diverse, plural, multicolored region - in each class we have kids from at least 5 different nations, and I think that in my son´s kindergarden, there are kids with parents from more than 10 different countries. For my kids, the concept of "foreigners" doesn´t exist, and I believe this should go for every kid. They only know friend, or not friend, but it doesn´t even occur to them to ponder about such things as nationalities. And I love to mingle, too.

So, I recently befriended a really sweet Indian mom. She´s slightly younger than I am, and one reason we bacame friends is that we both love to talk English, and hardly ever find an opportunity here. She wants to know all about our german educational system, which I can tell her, and about playing music, which I can tell her about, too, and all about how to find a job, which I certainly can´t tell her. I want to know all about her Indian culture - she only moved here a couple of years ago, and she fascinates me by telling me about the Indian cast system, about her parents having servants at home and huge snakes in the garden, and her marriage being arranged, but allright. But generally, we´re not that different. In fact, our conflicts and interests pretty much overlap. So we love to sit in the warm spring sun and talk, and talk for hours, while drinking spiced tea and chapati.
And then she tells me about her encounters with racism, which occur about weekly.
And it makes me deeply ashamed and extremely sad to learn that, unlike our children, there are still people - mainly old people, but some young, too - who feel the need to stop a young mom on the street and ask her when she´s "going back home" and "why she´s taking away jobs from the german people".
I bet the people who do this are the same a**holes who stop me on the street to ask me why I dare overpopulate the planet when they see me with my four kids, our who´ve never seen a mom babywear and immediatly need to tell me this is unhealthy and only done in Africa.
Doesn´t make it better. And since my kids are out of the babywearing-stage, and I´m mostly only around with my twins, since my girls do their own stuff, those incidents stopped for me. And they were never that regular to begin with.
I can´t even imagine how annoying it must be to live with this kind of everyday-racism, how hurtfull.We have a close friend who is equally qualified in his field as my husband is, who goes from one job interview to the next and doesn´t get the job, because he´s of turkish origin. He was born here, and I never even think of him as turkish, but apparently, other people decide to take this as a main criteria. And it makes me so angry.
I like my country.
Overall, I think we´re a pretty open society, and life is good. Sometimes, Couchsurfers ask me whether I think it´s "safe" over here in Germany, and I honestly tell them that it´s the safest place I could imagine, no matter what skin color you have, and that my people are tolerant and open minded.
And mostly, we are.
Whereever I went, whether it was Britain or Poland or France or Russia or Poland or the Netherlands or Tunesia or Egypt or Portugal, the people I met were... people. I met people in Poland who wouldn´t want to talk to me and I almost got raped, and I met people who let me sleep in their master bedroom and taught my kids how to sing in polish and treated me like family. Dutch people greeted me with "Heil Hitler", and other dutch people showed me their cool playgrounds and invited me into their homes. British hooligans once spoiled a night of midnight swimming in the sea by beating up my friends, but I can´t even begin to tell the many lovely, heartfelt encounters I´ve had with British people that made me fall for their country.
What I want to say is that... racism is, despite our history of extreme racism, not an exclusive german phenomenon.
But that doesn´t make it any more acceptable.
But I do believe - hope, and believe - that for the next generation, for our children, this kind of behaviour will slowly dissapear. We connect through the internet. We have globalization.
And I love to embrace this in my life, every. single. day.
I just wanted to tell you this.

And give you the recipe for the Indian bread, right?

When I called my friend to ask her for the recipe, she laughed at me, since there is none.
You simply take whole wheat flour, any amount, and some spoons of oil, just any oil, and enough water to give the dough the consistency of solid clay. Keep mixing and kneading until it feels about right, as soon as you gather some experience, it shouldn´t take long.
Then form little balls with your hands, and flatten them - my friend has this super cool, thin wooden dowel she uses - I took an empty soda-bottle.
Heat the pan pretty hot, without taking any oil, put your bread in there for 2 minutes, flip it (we use only our hands - if you´re quick, you don´t burn yourself!), and you´re good to go :)

Have some german Kräuterbutter with it :)



Nils said...

I remember that ruined midnight swim... I still try to let tht experience not spoil my view of the British in general, but my memories always creap back to that night. Since I might move to the UK in the near future I sure hope I will soon make new and more enjoyable memories....

HelenClyde said...

You will :)

Which part of the UK do you have in mind, may i ask?

Nils said...


At least thats what I am applying for...