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food / travel

Bear Meat BBQ? A Battle In Northern Italy Over Brown Bears In Parks. And On Plates

A political battle erupts when locals objecting to the arrival of bears decide to hold a very particular kind of barbecue.

Canned bear meat from Finland (Harry Brignull)
Canned bear meat from Finland (Harry Brignull)

Worldcrunch NEWS BITES

It was meant to be a provocative protest against plans to populate a wooded area in northern Italy with brown bears. But to some members of the Italian government and other critics, it was simply barbaric.

A planned BBQ of bear meat was halted just before kick-off, sparking the ire of its organizer. "I'm as mad as a bear," said Erminio Boso, a local politician and longtime member of the Northern League, a member of the ruling coalition known for flamboyant and highly controversial stances against immigrants and Muslims. And now, it seems, bears.

Boso had organized the outdoor banquet featuring some 100 kilograms of bear meat, imported from Slovenia, to protest against an initiative aimed at populating the woods in Trentino, an Alpine region in northern Italy. He fears it would prevent people from taking hikes in the woods. His solution? Eating a bear.

The plan in the small village of Imer prompted immediate protests of not just animal rights groups, but also of members of the government, the League's allies in Rome, including prominent ones such as the foreign minister. Eventually, Italy's health minister sent members of a police unit usually dealing with food contaminations and animal disease, who seized the meat. "They spoiled the party," Boso complained. He and his fellow party-goers were left with sausages and a pasta dish with minced deer sauce.

As it turned out, the police also found that organizers lacked proper documentation for the import of the Slovenian bear.

photo Harry Brignull

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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