By Nitum Jain:
A little birdie carried a love message from Israel, bearing the address of the People of Iran. Seems like right out of a fairy tale? Especially considering how the two countries have issues that are far greater than ‘tensions’, have known to issue statements that call for the other to be “wiped off the map” and are running nuclear programmes that can literally wipe the other off the map.
Started by Ronny Edri through Facebook, a campaign run by Israelis who say, “I love you Iran. We will never bomb you” is gaining momentum as supporters are pouring in. Iranians have accordingly reciprocated the love and right now the people of the countries are in the getting-to-know-each-other phase of their new found love affair.
Ronny on the About Us section of the campaign site writes, “To the Iranian people. To all the fathers, mothers, children, brothers and sisters. For there to be a war between us, first we must be afraid of each other, we must hate. I’m not afraid of you, I don’t hate you. I don’t even know you. No Iranian ever did me harm. I never even met an Iranian, just one in Paris in a museum. Nice dude… I see sometime here, on the TV, an Iranian. He is talking about war. I’m sure he does not represent all the people of Iran… If you see someone on your TV talking about bombing you… be sure he does not represent all of us. To all those who feel the same, share this message and help it reach the Iranian people.”
And an Iranian lady replies, “Just wanted to ensure you, we all Iranians feel the same, we just want peace and beauty on the earth, we hate war and slaughter, we all are the parts of one body and it hurts when you see a human suffering since she or he is a part of your soul. I have been always curious about you guys if you hate us, because I have been sure that the actual face of Iranians would not be introduced to you guys… All in all just would like to thank you for your beautiful message and say that we all love you because you are our brothers and sisters. The only thing that matters is your beautiful heart not your culture, language, skin colour, religion or homeland.”
It’s an exhilarating experience to see these people asking each other’s hobbies, their likings, whether they like football, how similar are they and how different. The official warfare rhetoric may pose the countries as thirsting for each other’s lifeblood; the truth still percolated through the frontiers and reached the other’s heart. This also raises in front of the world a question much bigger than the matter between these two countries- Are the apparent ‘tensions’ shared by different countries just political constructs?
Come to think of it, why do we have this general ‘dislike’ for Pakistan? Or do we? India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads with each other since time immemorial and still that animosity is yet to make a mark on the general public other than manifesting as a stereotype which raises its head every time a cricket match rolls around the corner. Several Pakistanis have spoken, and Indians alike, about how they do not hold any ill feelings towards the people of the opposite nation, but this is yet to become big news and the age-old perceptions persist.
Let’s take the example of the war-ridden Middle Eastern nation. Let’s open the channels of communication. Let’s not be constricted by territories and boundaries. Let’s talk human to human, without the nationalism weighing us down. Let’s move beyond borders. Let’s feel. After all, hearts don’t need a visa.