After spending a week in the modern crossroads between Islam and Christianity, I reflect upon the literally endless conflict based on religion or ideology that continues to wrack the world. Like our own country, Turkey is such a fantastic example of how differing ideologies can co-exist peacefully, but often clash. East and West, Islam/Christianity/Judaism, traditional and progressive, old and new.
Peaceful coexistence fails when we focus on differences that separate, not differences that enrich, oftten in the presence of much commonality. Such divisions are further reinforced by both small and large quarrels and insults, ancient and recent, real or perceived. Most of us feel helpless to improve even a small part of it.
But are we? Are we really as powerless as we feel?
I have written in several blogs* about how we create our own reality. If we believe we are powerless, we become powerless. If we believe we are impactful, we can create change.
If anyone embodies this simple belief in creating change, it is Ronny Edry. Ronny Edry believed, with a small gesture, he could spread love to the people that he was raised to believe were the enemy. Edry is an Israeli Jew who also happens to be a graphic designer. He created a poster saying “Israel loves Iran” and posted it on Facebook. The image went viral and it spawned thousands of similar images from other Israelis. Soon, images saying “Iran loves Israel” were appearing all over the internet posted by Iranians, followed by citizens from around the world showing their love for their so-called enemies. People across warring boundaries started communicating and becoming, yes, friends. Then, remarkably, they started visiting their new friends in “enemy territory.” Ronny Edry envisioned love and created it with a single image.
Ronny Edry believed a single act of love can make a difference. We all have the capacity to believe in and create random, and not so random, acts of love, kindness, compassion and forgiveness. We all have the potential to make a difference and change our corner of the world. It starts with believing we have the power. And we do.