The long-besieged Libyan port city of Misurata is usually associated with NATO airstrikes, artillery barrages, humanitarian concerns, and the occasional camel stumbling upon a minefield, which helps explain why the decidedly lighter story of a Libyan pizza maker who returned home to Misurata from Sweden has gotten a lot of traction in recent days.
We first learned about Emmad Daihy in early July from The Daily Telegraph's Ruth Sherlock, who explained that the 32-year-old chef had left his pizzeria in Stockholm to return to Libya in June. After hearing on Free Libya radio that the rebels needed food, Daihy established a restaurant in a Misurata farmhouse nestled in an olive grove, spiriting away industrial ovens from the city's destroyed hotels and asking merchants to donate ingredients and delivery boxes. Now, Sherlock noted, volunteers in war-battered pickup trucks deliver 8,000 pieces of pizza a day to fighters on Misurata's three front lines. She added that the young men who knead the dough and the boys who sprinkle cheese and tomato sauce on top must contend with falling mortars and "the rip and boom of incoming rockets," which often shake the cooking pots. The story was picked up all over--be it in Libya, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Italy, or Australia.
Now Al Jazeera has joined the pizza party, profiling Daihy and his "gourmet pizza" shop in a segment today that also looks at front line coffee shops, barbers, and mechanics. You can watch Al Jazeera's Sue Turton deliver cartons of "piping hot" thin-crust tuna, olive, and cheese pies while wearing a bullet proof vest and sitting in the back of a pickup truck, marveling at the "world's most dangerous pizza delivery service."