Israel Loves Iran: When peace goes viral

2013-06-23 14:00

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“Iranians, we will never bomb your country. We love you.” On March 14 2012, when tension was once again flaring between Iran and Israel, Ronny Edry, an Israeli graphic designer, wrote this message on a photo of himself holding his young daughter and posted it on Facebook.

Within 24 hours, Iranians and Israelis started posting their own photos and messages in response to Edry’s image, all expressing the same idea: We don’t want war.

Edry’s next step was to set up a dedicated Facebook page called “Israel Loves Iran”. At the time of writing, this single page had more than 112 000 “Likes”.

The desire for peace, seemingly overnight, has gone viral.

Shortly after Edry’s Facebook page appeared, Majid Nowrouzi, an Iranian living in Malaysia, launched the companion “Iran Loves Israel” page.

Haunted by the memory of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, in which he lost his uncle and a close friend, Nowrouzi saw an opportunity to raise his voice against the possibility of yet another conflict.

Collaborative projects between the two campaigns sprang up, including the photo series – “Peace: it’s two friends having coffee” – where ordinary people from countries traditionally seen as enemies posed together and posted the results.

There are now yet more Facebook pages declaring “Afghanistan Loves Israel”, “Palestine Loves Israel”, “America Loves Iran”, “Australia loves Iraq and Afghanistan”, and so on.

The next plan is the launch of Creative Lab, a start-up company that advertises for peace.

The project hopes to attract artistic talent including graphic designers, application designers, artists and film makers from the Middle East.

Despite its limitations, the “Israel Loves Iran” and

“Iran Loves Israel” campaigns have brought a sense of hope and an empowering sense of doing something to many of their supporters. Their very language represents a stark and welcome contrast to the threatening rhetoric of politicians.

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