When working on the Iraqi-culture-centric novel Falcons on the Floor with Justin Sirois, who also founded the Understanding Campaign, which seeks to foster very basic understandings between cultures, I kept thinking about how food is my favorite way to learn about other countries. And when you know what other people eat like, probably you don’t want to kill them. So if there were tons of Iraqi restaurants, perhaps we’d have a better understanding of their culture.
So I was heartened by this article in GOOD (from January 13, but recently tweeted by @cdcurtis) about an Iraqi restaurant in Lowell, NH that was vandalized by some hater. Immediately afterward, 100s of Iraq War vets “and their friends and familes staged an “Eat-In,” filling the seats of the restaurant. The mood was celebratory…”
That’s the sort of thing that makes me proudest of a book like Falcons. When so much of the conversation is about war and impropriety and coups and election years, it’s good to contribute in a way that’s focused on the routines and, like, eating habits of regular people, no matter where they are.