Jewish Journal


August 16, 2012

The rivalry that killed a friendship



What will the future hold? Picture taken by Associated Press

Today, I would like to tell you the story of a true friendship, which turned out to be impossible because of a rivalry. I know you’ve already heard of Romeo and Juliet, but I promise you this one is more modern and because of that, more disappointing. This story has officially worn out my optimism when it comes to the Israeli- Iranian relationship.

Remember the “Israelis/Iranians- we love you” campaign? The one that was so successful it turned over some decision makers’ heads? Turns out it is nothing but a wish of the heart. Ella Klein from Israel and Horra Amin from Iran met in Thailand about two months ago.  They clicked right away, and knew they won’t let politics ruin their blooming friendship; at least not while being abroad. In one of the warm summer days, the two friends decided to post a shared photo of them on Facebook. Soon, their picture, hugging each other with one hand and creating a shape of a heart with the other, was spread throughout the web, being a living proof of an alleged taboo friendship. This photo revived the old “we love you” campaign, and brought this calm breeze upon us.

But just like in all the classic dramatic plays, the minute everybody’s happy, everything falls apart. When Amin returned to Iran several days later, she reluctantly asked Klein to remove the picture. Klein obeyed and also asked all of her friends who shared it, to remove it as well. Behind this somewhat small act of a picture being removed from Facebook, there’s the shadow of hate. Turns out there were no hugs of joy for Amin when she returned home. The day she got back, she started receiving threats for her life, from people who seek no peace. All she did was make friends with an Israeli, and for that, she ought to be punished. Not so far away from there, Klein was interviewed for the papers, and was welcomed with hands wide open and a big hug. While she was away, she became, even if for a short while, a symbol of peace. Her photo and her new friendship were living proof that there’s room for hope, and that if the people will ever have a say in this, they would end these shenanigans.

At this point, it is very important for me to state that this does not mean that the haters are from Iran only, because we do not lack haters here, too. This is merely an example of how blind hate, which comes mainly from the decision makers of both sides, can sometimes overshadow the true nature of the Israeli-Iranian relationship- friendship. As the “we love you” campaign and many stories such as this showed us all- Israelis and Iranian do not seek war. It is just something our leaders got themselves into, and we are ought to live by.

When I think of this story, I think of what it symbolizes. This is a lot more than a story of a friendship against all odds. This is a story of a friendship destined to be forgotten with time, as this photo will slowly fade away, leaving yellow marks where there were once smiles of two happy women, just enjoying the beach and the sun, not worrying about things not needed to be worried about.  Unfortunately, hate won yet another time, and with the removal of this photo, peace was forced to take a step back. However, I have a feeling these small rays of light will not stop glowing from time to time. And although I became slightly less optimistic about this whole peace thing, I want to believe it will be possible someday. Hopefully, before it’s too late.

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