It’s a contemporary war story, but one with a touch of warmth. After 150 years of serving up sweets to Syrians in Aleppo, Salloura bakery moved to Istanbul’s “Little Syria” in 2014. It’s part of the greater migration of Syrian refugees, many of whom still have no place to rebuild their lives or regain what was lost.
Last night, that story was told. GroundTruth played its audio documentary, “From Syria with Baklava,” for a crowd of listeners at WGBH. They sat around tables and enjoyed Salloura’s baklava firsthand, taking in the taste and sounds of a culinary institution that means as much to its employees as it does to its owners.
The night included guest speakers who are close to the story and the Syrian refugee crisis. Nadia Alawa, founder of NuDay Syria, an advocacy for Syrian women and girls, spoke in a panel discussion with GroundTruth Founder Charles Sennott and Diane Foley, head of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation.
GroundTruth Middle East reporting fellows Dalia Mortada and editor-at-large Lauren Bohn reported in Turkey and Germany, following the stories of Salloura’s staff for months and producing an in-depth series for Culinary Backstreets as well as the podcast.
The night concluded in a dramatic way – Syrian musician Kenan Adwani performed an original composition about his home country on the oud, a stringed instrument thought to have originated more than 3,000 years ago.