می نویسم، پس فعلا هستم
( گاهی هم البته صرفا بلند فکر می کنم )
۱۳۹۱ فروردین ۱۲, شنبه
My Story for the " Israel Loves Iran/ Iran Loves Israel Campaign"
A Campaign under the name of "Israel loves Iran" started on 14th March 2012 with the aim of preventing war between the states of Iran and Israel. Posters reading, "Iranians, we will never bomb your country, we ♥ you" have spread on the internet. Iranian Cartoonist Mana Neyestani has very well demonstrated the campaign in his cartoon. The Israeli and Iranian governments keep threatening each other, while the Israeli and Iranian people send each other flowers.
Being inspired by the Campaign, I decided to share my story as well. My story goes back to October 2011, when I participated in a workshop on Leadership organized by the Center for Global Nonkilling. The workshop was made up of activists of various backgrounds from all over the world: from Africa to America and From Middle East to Europe. One of the issues discussed at the workshop was how to struggle for civil, political and economic rights in different countries and contexts without resorting to violence. Many participants had interesting stories to share. On the first day, one of the organizers, Luis from Colombia, talked about his experience in conducting negotiations between the FARC and the Colombian government. Luis thought, the only way to stop the violence caused by the FARC was to negotiate with them. Even though he had some bitter stories (he lost one of his friends in this process, to name one), he continued this path, as he strongly believed that it was only through dialogue and negotiation that the government could stop the kidnappings and drug trafficking perpetrated by the FARC and not through raids and violent retaliations. Each participant, had an interesting story to share, but speaking of the Campaign, I wish to highlight the experience of Shimon here.
Shimon, was from Israel. Like his name, he had typical Israeli features. In fact, he looked like some of the Israeli soldiers I had seen on Iran’s state television. To my surprise, I realized that he had actually served in the Israeli Army. An ex-Israeli soldier, what was he doing in this workshop? This was the first question that crossed my mind. It didn’t take me long to figure it out though. Shimon, had decided to quit the army after sometime and instead he had decided to join an organization called “ Combatants for Peace”.
‘Combatants for Peace’, was initially set up jointly by Palestinians and Israelis who had taken an active part in the cycle of violence: Israelis as soldiers in the Israeli Army and Palestinians as part of the violent struggle for Palestinian freedom. The common factor shared by all its members is that they have all decided to put down their guns and struggle for peace. Believing that it is no longer possible to resolve the conflict between the two nations through violent means, both sides refused to take part in the war and instead focused on dialogue and reconciliation as the only way to act in order to terminate the Israeli occupation, to halt the settlement project and to establish a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, alongside the State of Israel.
‘Combatants for Peace’ operates through organizing meetings and lectures given by both Israeli and Palestinian veterans concentrating on the transition from violent struggle to the recognition of the limits of the violence. The organization has also set up a bi-national media team in order to influence public opinion in Israeli, Palestine and the rest of the world. Members participate in demonstrations and other non-violent actions against the occupation as a bi-national group.
Shimon is currently doing his PhD in community mental health in Israel and is an active member of ‘ Combatants for Peace’. He talked about how at first it was hard for both sides to trust each other. Palestinians were afraid that the Israeli participants were from the Israel’s Intelligence Agency and Israelis were afraid that Palestinians might secretly plant bombs in their cars while they were in the meeting. However, time proved that both sides could trust each other and trust was gradually built between the two sides. Israel and Palestine do not yet coexist together peacefully, but that does not mean that the ‘Combatants for Peace’ has been useless. As it is said: “ Real change take time”. It took some time for the Israeli and Palestinian members to trust each other, but they finally did trust each other and the same could apply in the case of peace between Israel and Palestine, as well as Israel and Iran. It’s only a matter of time. Again, as an old saying goes: “ Impossible is Impossible” and peaceful coexistence is so not impossible.
Shimon, proved to be a very warm and open guy. We talked a lot during the workshop. His wife, Danit, also a very nice and open-minded Israeli, once told me that she had seen an Iranian movie in Israel. “Oh really, which movie was it? Did you like it?” I asked. She didn’t remember the name of the movie but started to talk about it. It turned out to be “ No One Knows about Persian Cats”, a semi-documentary about Iran’s underground music made by prominent Iranian film-maker Bahman Ghobaadi. In answering to my “ How did you like it?” question, she said that she and her friends really loved the movie and enjoyed the different music played by different bands. Danit said that after the movie one of her friends said: “ How could we hate people with such beautiful music?”