How pizza brings people together

Food adventures in Naples, Italy

“Why is a woman like you having dinner by herself on Valentines Day?” asked a waiter at the famous pizzeria. When I replied that I like traveling by myself, he made me share a table in the crowded place with another solo traveler from Argentina. As we were happily connecting and sharing stories, something interesting happened at the table next to us.  Two guys from Lebanon asked a couple if they could share their table. The couple said yes. When the Lebanese guys found out the couple was from Israel, they hesitated. For a few minutes, which felt like an eternity, they stood there, discussing among themselves in Arabic if they would share a table with people from a country that had caused theirs so much grief. The entire pizzeria was holding their breath as the Lebanese guys finally sat down at the table with the Israelis. A beautiful conversation started and many people were listening in. About how both sides ‘brainwash’ their young people to believe that the other side is bad. And that many people don’t support their government’s views. That in the end, we are all people, who want to live in peace with our family and friends. We all love to travel and we all love… pizza. Many people in that restaurant tonight were moved and got a life lesson that solving conflict starts with these – seemingly small – decisions: to share a table with your ‘enemies’; to talk, but most of all to listen. To have the courage to have an open mind. To see people and not politics. To discover for yourself and don’t let propaganda feed you.    After the Israeli couple left, the Argentinian girl, the two Lebanese guys and I went for a walk and a drink. I found out that one of the guys is doing his PhD on conflict resolution. I really hope that he can use what he’s experienced tonight and apply it to the worthy cause of solving conflicts in the world. Better even: trying to prevent them. We may have found a way that works… ???????????????? More pizza for more world peace! Amen. ????????

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