The recipe to stop war


Zubin D’souza
There has been a lot of tom-tomming in the press off late about the possibilities of war; worse still the possibilities of a Third World War!
Like most people I am a pacifist.
I totally believe in the biblical premise that swords should be beaten into ploughshares to help till the land and grow crops. To go a step further, in anticipation of this world changing event, I went ahead and became a chef so that when the excesses of this peaceful actions bear fruit, I will be able to do complete justice and cook them to perfection!
Anyway, we have come a long way from the past where forced enlistments and military drafts ensured a steady stream of abled bodies to be sent to the fronts as cannon fodder.
Now all you need is one of your usual vitriolic political leaders drumming up an atmosphere of xenophobia which is invariably accompanied by their acolytes spreading the same message through social media.
Within no time at all, you have fear and mistrust; clear division lines running through the country in a veritable us versus them situation.
I have long grown into the conclusion that politicians and their tactics will never change. Sometimes I feel that more than the difference that we have come to expect from their attitudes should be how we ourselves process and understand all this information.
Since there is no chance of that happening any time soon especially with hawks in power across the world, is another World War inevitable?
Is there truly no hope?
Are there no chances of us getting through unscathed?
Why is there no recipe for peace? Or is there one?
Some incidents like the unofficial Christmas Truce during the December of 1914 and the commencement of WW1 lead me to believe that there is some hope of humanity winning after all.
When rank and file soldiers decided that Christmas was more important celebrating; that sharing meals and smokes and playing football ranked considerably higher than killing someone who is a total stranger is what gives hope to a rather cold world.
But nothing makes me as proud of being a chef nor convinces me rightly about food being the saving grace as the true but relatively unknown incident of the First War of Kappel.
Before Switzerland became the neutral country that we all know and celebrate today, it had its fair share of armed conflict like any other country of that time.
The date was the June 10, 1529 and two armies faced each other on a flat green pasture ready to do unspeakable acts of violence to each other.
This time they were spurred on by perceived theological differences.
On one side was the Catholic army from Zug who were squaring off against the Protestant forces that had come in from Zurich.
They were there to settle scores on the disputed administration of certain territories and the field that they chose was in Kappel am Albis. Because of the events that unfolded that day, the field has since been rechristened the ‘Milchesuppenstein’ which translates to mean the ‘milk soup pasture’.
So when the armies assembled on either side of the field, a local magistrate tried to negotiate a peace deal between the two opposing leaders. While the group parleyed in safety away from the battlefield, the tired and hungry soldiers started fraternising amongst each other.
Before long, someone had brought in a huge soup cauldron and set it up in the middle of the battlefield. The Catholics provided the milk and the Protestants the bread. Grated cheese, nutmeg, bay leaves and some unmentioned spices were thrown into the inaugural pot of the Kappeler Milk Soup.
Everyone shared from the same pot as they sprawled in the verdant green grass on a bright sunny day whilst sipping on their soup and munching on their bread.
The armies once fed did not find that they really had much to fight over and a truce was announced.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, this was the First War of Kappel which should have been an indicator that there was more than one war.
The soup although celebrated even today did not work well as a truce strategy for the subsequent wars.
Bloodlust and anger was allowed to prevail in the same way that we do today.
Wouldn’t it be easier if we just sat down for some soup instead and sorted out our differences?