Israeli/Iranian Citizens Reach Out Over Facebook For Peace

from the come-on-people-now-smile-on-your-brother dept

Disparate aspects of the ongoing advance of technology throughout the world are coming together in a very interesting and heartwarming result. As groups continue the attempt to connect everyone in the world by the near-future, we’ve also seen how social media has been used recently to organize and deploy protests and citizen activism, particularly in the Middle East. But those two stories are converging into a fascinating display of communication between two rival nations in that troubled region.

In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock these past few months, it turns out the governments of Iran and Israel have some minor quibbles with one another. As a result, there’s been much saber-rattling and boot-stomping between the two governments and popular opinion tends to be it’s a matter of when, not if, the bullets and bombs begin flying. If one is not nuanced enough to separate out these nation’s governments from their people, one might assume the common people in each state are equally rivalrous. This separation is made all the more difficult by the way both nations close off communication with one another, such that an individual in Israel is completely unable to make a simple phone call to an Iranian area code (it’s blocked at the government level).

But if you happen to think closing off all communication is silly and counter-productive (like me), you’ll be delighted to know that the internet is here to save the day. CNN has the story of one Israeli citizen, Ronny Edry, a graphic designer, who thinks the prospect of pre-emptive war with Iran is absolutely insane, so he developed some simple but striking “posters” and put them up on Facebook.

“My idea was simple, I was trying to reach the other side. There are all these talks about war, Iran is coming to bomb us and we bomb them back, we are sitting and waiting. I wanted to say the simple words that this war is crazy,” said Edry.

The images featured pictures of various Israelies, such as Edry himself and his neighbors along with their children, and a message:

Now if you’re cynical, or you watch too much cable news, you might be wondering what the big deal is. So an Israeli made some posters and put them on Facebook. So what?

The response, said Edry, was overwhelming. “In a few hours, I had hundreds of shares and thousands of likes and it was like something was happening.

“I think it’s really amazing that someone from Iran poked me and said ‘Hello, I’m from Iran, I saw your “poster” on Facebook,’ ” Edry said.

And that’s when the posters created by Iranian citizens in return began flooding in. Posters with messages of peace and commonality. I found one particular post on Edry’s Facebook page from an Iranian to be particularly heartening:

We share a common history, have been sharing both our great and ancient cultures, languages and poetry together. … We are so similar, and politicians cannot cut a tie that has been tied thousands of years ago. I am proud to have you as my friends.

I’m not going to go all peace, love and flower power on you, but this is why the internet age is so important. It’s also why cutting off communication between nations, or allowing even the first steps of internet censorship to take hold, must be stopped at all costs. It’s not just about copyright, or flash mobs, or YouTube videos showing Spaceballs clips. The internet is ultimately about people sharing with one another, whether they’re sharing thoughts, images like this, or whatever. It’s about commonality. It’s about creating a web of bonds through which communication and understanding can flow.

And now, I’m realizing, it’s about giving every man and woman the power to do what their blowhard, acrimonious politicians won’t do: talk to one another.

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Comments on “Israeli/Iranian Citizens Reach Out Over Facebook For Peace”

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Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If we could see the demographics of TD I can bet there are plenty of international users whose primary languages are not English (just like me). Yet, we all communicate here using English because it became a standard trade language. And I think it’s awesome because it’s a rather simple language to learn (at least it was the easiest one to learn from the 4 idioms I speak and I’m including Portuguese there). And it’s functional. And the message has been sent and understood all over the world.

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile) says:

Citizens and Governments

I watched part of one of those travel shows on the PBS channel with a guy traveling in Iran. They had a clip of him chatting with a group of students, or young people. He asked about what they think of Americans (himself being one). She said in essence, we are all people and are all friends and neighbors…it is only our governments that cannot get along.

Anonymous Coward says:

dont worry. the good ol USA will soon deal with this. there will be all sorts of communications flying around stating how this, that or the other copyright has been broken, so law suits are about to begin. then there will be the threat of sanctions against 1 or both and being put on the dreaded 301 list. then, the US ambassadors to those countries will be out helping to rewrite their copyright laws. that will help prevent a possible fall to democracy and allow the democracy in the US to continue changing into a dictatorship. finally, how dare they have a war without asking the US permission or letting them join in!

Anonymous Coward says:

Why do you think we built the Internet?

And why do think that governments fear it so much?

We didn’t build it for Facebook, or for Google, or for IBM, or for Oracle, or for any corporation, or any government, or any religion, or anyone.

We built it for everyone. We designed it to cross borders, elude censorship, and penetrate barriers.

We did that in the hope that maybe, just maybe, if we made it possible for EVERYONE to share knowledge and culture and communication that they’d stop killing each other.

It remains to be seen if we were right.

But keep this in mind when you think about the reasons behind the actions of those in power: they are motivated by fear, the fear of losing control, losing money, losing power. They’re frightened of the future.

Which is exactly why we must build it.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Israel Is Officially A Democracy

The same reason the US “doesn’t vote for it.” In the US, a politician promising peace created one of the biggest political movements in history. Then he got elected and became a warmonger overnight. When your choices are pre-selected by the establishment, elections don’t mean much.

yasmin says:

cynicism won't save the world

People doubt the sincerity of this campain, but as an Isreali I can tell you it represents people who truly wish to refrain war and also end the occupation under the terrible Netanyahu leadership.

here’s an interesting article about the israel-loves-iran campaign:

yasmin says:

cynicism won't save the world

People doubt the sincerity of this campain, but as an Isreali I can tell you it represents people who truly wish to refrain war and also end the occupation under the terrible Netanyahu leadership.

here’s an interesting article about the israel-loves-iran campaign:

lfroen (profile) says:


Wast majority of Israeli people would like Iranian nuclear program to be wiped out. Using any means necessary.

Except of few lunatics (who will shout “peace” even if you shoot them), people would like to see this “research program” to end in flames. The discussion mostly revolves around “should we do it ourselves or convince US”.

… and given that this crap is written in English, one can guess that it’s not targeted towards Iranian – they speak Persian (as somebody pointed out already).

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