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Piping hot pizzas feed the revolution in Libya

Chef Daiki made it his mission to help the rebels in his hometown of Misrata

  • By Ruth Sherlock, The Telegraph Group Limited, London 2011
  • Published: 00:00 July 8, 2011
  • Gulf News

Piping hot pizzas feed the revolution in Libya
  • Image Credit: Supplied

Misrata: What is likely to be the most dangerous pizza delivery beat in the world is thriving in besieged Misrata where scores of youths shuttle piping hot orders to rebel fighters on the frontline.

The fast growing team of volunteers make and deliver up to 8,000 pieces of pizza daily to the hundreds of rebel fighters on Misrata's three front lines against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's forces. The mastermind is Libyan chef Emad Daiki, 32.

For years Daiki ran a successful pizzeria in downtown Stockholm, selling his 12 inch pizzas for ¤10 (Dh52.8). The wartime pizzeria is hidden in an olive grove, within shelling range of the western front line.

In the side room of a farmhouse with decor that is reminiscent of an old English country home, burly young men in chef aprons kneaded giant balls of dough.

Boys sprinkled the cheese and tomato sauce on the bases. When he returned to his home in Misrata one month ago, he made it his mission to feed the revolution: "I heard on ‘Free Libya' radio that the fighters needed food, so I decided to set up this restaurant." Daiki brought industrial ovens from the city's bombed out hotels, and charmed shop owners for ingredients.

"Most people, when they heard it was for the fighters gave many onions, tomatoes, tuna and olives, all for free," said Daiki. The fare is turned over to men like Mohammad Ali, 21, whose beaten up pick up has a bullet hole in the windscreen and metal work that is dented and torn by shrapnel.

Cooking is also perilous practice; the rip and boom of incoming rockets often shakes the cooking pots, and mortars regularly fall nearby. In the holes and sand banks that make up Misrata's stalemate front lines, rebels wait and watch the enemy stationed across the fields.

Tea pots, blankets, guitars and shisha pipes strewn on the ground after more than a month of inhabitancy. For them Daiki's piping hot slices are manna from heaven. "We have to keep the fighters strong and their morale up, they cannot just eat bread," said Daiki.

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