To hear their leaders talk, to watch them rattle swords at each other, Israelis and Iranians should hate each other. Wars, knavery, and corruption have been around longer than recorded history. Countries and leaders change, and still the sabre rattling goes on. But that doesn’t mean battling it out is a sensible way to share the planet.
So this people-to-people idea gives me hope. An Israeli couple, 41-year-old Ronny Edry and his 36-year-old wife Micha Tamir, were running a graphic design school called Pushpin. As the war rhetoric heated up between Israel and Iran, they decided to reach out to ordinary Iranians.
They posted a sign on a Facebook site they called, “Israel Loves Iran.” They took photographs of people holding the sign, which read, “Iranians, we will never bomb your country. We ♥ you.”
The idea went viral. Media loved it. Iranians posted messages on the site. So did people from around the world, such as this video from Iran, with the message “My Israeli Friends / I don’t hate you / I don’t want war”.
The Israeli couple decided to throw all their energies into the peace effort. With messages, photographs, and videos pouring in and an avalanche of media requests, they posted the video below, asking for support for their cause. They launched a Web site and another Facebook page they call The Peace Factory. They developed an app that can send a ♥ to Iran.
It’s a crazy idea, thinking they can spread peace this way. It’s as crazy as the events of the Arab spring, the Occupy movement, and Mahatma Gandhi. Peace always seems to be the province of dreamers.
So let the world fill up with dreamers. I ♥ you.
Update: Ronny Edry gave a wonderful TED talk in September 2012.