In the midst of civil war, Syrians saved seeds:
Even as the area around the genebank fell under the control of two competing armed groups and the remaining staff reckoned with several kidnappings, they managed to backup 80 percent of the center’s collection in Svalbard. The last shipment arrived at Svalbard in March 2014—nearly two years after Amri and much of the rest of the international staff had relocated to Rabat, Morocco. Last month, the Centerwon the Gregor Mendel Innovation Prize—coveted among plant breeders—for its rescue and preservation of the genebank. And amazingly, the Aleppo site continues to be operational. The Syrian staff has managed to keep the electricity on and the genebank intact through four years of war.
Wars never end. Neither does the human drive to persevere. This is how we get better.
One thought on “Not Everything Sucks, Guys”
This comment is in the “Japan Destroyed by Volcanoes; Local Woman’s Trip in Doubt” school, so I’ll apologize for that up front, but then I’ll go on.
We are big fans of Aleppo pepper. In 2007, our supply of the coarse red powder dried up. Our importer blamed the war in Syria. You may remember that 2007 was the year that Israel blew up that Syrian reactor, but it was also the year the US started arming Sunnis, including Al Qaeda groups, to bring down Assad. The red stuff flowing in the streets was not Aleppo pepper.
Earlier this year, we were surprised to find that Aleppo pepper is still available. Our importer assures us it is Syrian in origin and not some Chinese or synthetic substitute. It tastes like the real thing, so he is most likely correct. So, that’s some more good news out of Aleppo.
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