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Israeli-Iranian Facebook Page

Chas sent me an article about the “Israel-Loves Iran” Facebook page a few weeks ago and when I checked out the Israel-Loves-Iran Facebook page with its wonderful viral message, I started a draft for this post.  Now I’m back and the page is still picking up steam with over 55,000 fans and a new app.  If you haven’t seen these Internet peace messages circulating online, or if you haven’t noticed any of your Facebook friends ‘liking’ the page and spreading the meme, I highly recommend checking it out.

From a recent New Yorker article:

My Facebook page was hit this week by what can only be described as a “status deluge.” One by one, my friends in Israel began sharing, “liking,” and posting a single message: “Iranians, We will never bomb your country, We love you.” I was as moved as I was surprised: one would be hard pressed to find a more sarcastic bunch than my fellow Israelis. But there they were, my friends, and thousands of others, spreading a saccharine message of peace at a time of rising hostilities.

 

The Israel-Loves-Iran campaign is the brainchild of Ronny Edry, a graphic designer from Tel Aviv who posted the message online next to a photo of him and his daughter. “I didn’t think of it as a campaign until it just became one,” he told me. “At first, some of my friends who saw it told me ‘Are you crazy?’ because it’s very uncommon for people in the Middle East to talk about love, especially about loving the Iranians.” But after a few hours, he said, he started receiving messages from people asking him if they could add the graphic to their profile pictures.

 

Within forty-eight hours, Iranians heeded the Israeli call—on Facebook. Majid, a thirty-four-year-old landscape architect from Iran, launched an Iran-Loves-Israel campaign that reciprocated the message. “Our main aim is introducing the Iranians to the Israelis and the Israelis to the Iranians,” Majid (who asked not to be identified by his last name because he fears for his safety) wrote me by e-mail. Asked what propelled him to respond to the Israeli initiative, he replied, “While the leaders threaten war and they want to bomb our countries, we (Israeli and Iranian citizens) are already bombarding each other—with love and peace.”

The New Yorker article also mentions that the “Israel-Loves-Iran” campaign might just be another instance of “slacktivism,” (described in The New Yorker as “lazy, couch-surfing activism” with no real intent or focus to accomplish anything tangible), and this is something that a lot of people said about the Kony 2012 film and why it was passed along so effortlessly to so many people.  But isn’t this kind of awareness-raising and positive message-spreading via social media a good thing?  Anything that passes quickly through the cyber-sphere is clearly of interest to a lot of people who populate our easy-access global village and want to reach out to one another and immediately make an impact.  And, in such large numbers, these voices and outcries for love and peace are hard to ignore.

We seem to have a new model for activism, demonstrated by the the Kony 2012 viral video just in the beginning stages, that involves fast-spreading messages and memes for social good.  Rather than dismissing hugely successful viral media for social change as “slacktivism” (since it’s much more than that, and it’s not going away), let’s investigate the “clicktivism” aspect of it.  Let’s figure out how we can harness this new and powerful interest in social justice and these communicative Internet tools to embrace our global neighbors and continue to spread awareness and inspire change.   From The New Yorker article:

… It’s hard to predict what will become of this joint campaign; it may yet end with a whimper. But it could also have a surprising outcome. The fact that two women, an Iranian (Zohreh) and an Israeli (me), were able to cross the barriers set by their governments and speak to one another, however fleetingly—call it naïve, but it felt pretty great.

Click here to read Mashable’s “Facebook Diplomacy: ‘Israel Loves Iran’ Pages Take Off.”  From the article:

Diplomatic tensions continue to escalate between Israel and Iran. But prospects for peaceful reconciliation are looking up if you turn to Facebook.

 

A married pair of graphic designers from Tel Aviv, Ronny Edry and Michal Tamir, are using a Facebook Page called Israel Loves Iran to tell the Iranian people that they don’t want a war.

 

The Page — and a similar Page copying its mission — have now garnered more than 9,000 Likes between them.

Click here to listen to NPR‘s  “We Love You Iran Becomes Anti-War message.”  Click here to read CNN.com‘s “Can A Facebook Page Help Israel, Iran Toward Peace?”




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