First of all: What on earth is “Mohinga”?
If every country has its own typical national dish, the Burmese one must be Mohinga.1 This delicious dish is basically a fish soup with noodles and it includes fancy ingredients such as banana stem, fish sauce and, hopefully, lots of chili. If you want to try yourself at home you can find the recipe here. It is only too unfortunate, however, and indeed inexcusable, that the authors decided to conceal the fact that Mohinga tastes great with Czech beer.
After having established the eminent cultural link between Burma and the Czech Republic, we can now go on to the core question:
What is Mohinga doing in Prague?
Due to the hardship in Burma caused by the military dictatorship, millions of people have had to leave the country and start new lives scattered all over the world under difficult conditions. But the global movement of supporters calling for democracy and human rights in Burma has also gained considerable momentum. Although the destiny of Burma lies more than anything else in the hands of its own people, the international community also bears a huge amount of responsibility: for its entanglement in colonialism and arms trade; and for present involvement, including the intransparent businesses of foreign investors, opportunistic diplomacy, the complacency of tourists and the strategic games of global megalomaniacs. But this does not lessen the importance of our support of the Burmese democracy movement, of Burmese living in countries where democracy and human rights are denied to refugees, and our sedulous insistence on real improvement in Burma from which all of its citizens would benefit, while putting our own profit in second rank.
Mohinga, pivo and beyond
You guessed it: Mohinga in Prague stands not only for the presence of Burmese migrants in the Czech Republic, like almost everywhere in Europe, but also reflects the local interest and will to help, and the will to understand the issue through the culture of those affected, by learning and by listening. Mohinga, obviously, also stands for the joy of encountering a culture as rich as Burma’s.
We consider it an initiative’s asset to be multinational. You will recognize this concept in the coexistence of different voices and languages on this blog. We hope that you enjoy reading it and don’t mind stumbling here and there upon words that look strange.
- 1. Mohinga is often written as “Mohingar”, assuming that you are able to pronounce the “r” the same subtle way as Burmese the falling tone of the final “a”. It must also be noted that Burma’s numerous ethnic groups have their own cuisine. ↩