A Media Artist's Response To Failing Diplomacy

When BriAnna Olson's pacifist views were confronted by an adamant American couple, she decided to heed their challenge and head to Tehran-- the epicenter of the Axis of Evil nation.

Amongst a landscape of failed diplomacy and media smear campaigns, she and fellow artist Michael Pope found a society far more alive and hospitable than they'd ever been led to believe.

Like jesters of a modern-day Magellan, they've returned with stories and insights to a culture few American's have seen first hand.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Bri gets a letter about her view on policy

> I know that you feel as though the media distorts/filters the news as
> they see fit in regards to Iran, however my question persists; what
> do you think about President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's continued call for
> the destruction of Israel? Clearly he is not a loving person in this
> stark regard. Are your hopes to raise awareness within the general
> population of Iran (and abroad) that the decrees this man gives are
> setting a dangerous example in the Middle East, and that the founding
> that Iran gives to terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and
> Hamas need to end in order for any chance of peace to endure?
> Thank you for any information regarding these questions.
> Stephen

Hey there Stephen!

Very interesting inquiry.

Just the same as I don't publicly delve too deep into the political misgivings of the United States and Israel, I tend to not promote or defend President Ahmadinejad's. But alas, you have asked a very specific question.

Mr. Ahmadinejad is not alone in his opinion of Israel. He represents the voice of many fellow humans... and on every level, I think its important to give everyone their soapbox. Like a 2 year old or a disease, if you ignore it-- it just gets louder (or in the case of far too many, deadlier).

If we were to go beyond the soundbites and poor translations, we'd find that Ahmadinejad often makes a special point to distinguish between Jews and Zionists. And his call for Israel to be 'wiped off the map' (which translates closer from Persian as: must [vanish from] the page of time) is, to some, just a way of declaring that the Jewish state of Israel does not have the right to exist.

Israel was founded because of violence and with violence and continues to be, to this day, violent. Organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas were most likely born in response to this Western colonization, and there certainly is no global consensus on who is doing the terrorizing. To some the end of Hezbollah and Hamas would be the catalyst towards Peace, and to others the end of Israel would be the catalyst towards Peace.

While I've got my thinking cap on, I'd also like to acknowledge the remarkably close relationship between the United States and Israel. According to the American-Israeli Cooperative enterprise, Israel receives over $7.7 million/per day from the US-- the largest percentage of US foreign aid (primarily for its military, and including a nuclear arsenal that Israel doesn't have to account for). As a world superpower, the United States has clearly drawn its line in the sand as far as its unbridled support for Israel.

If that's the 'Us' what becomes of the 'Them'? Seems like the same story that has played out over and over again: weapon stockpiles, economic manipulation and empty threats... fear in the hearts of young and old.
Boring I say. All Boring.

So, no, I am not going to "raise the awareness in Iran that Ahmadinejad sets a dangerous example in the Middle East" because I'm not doing that in regards to the United States or Israel either. What I am going to do is promote 'Unconditional Love', without trying to point fingers or figure out who is to blame.

So there you have it.
I'm not sure its what you were looking for,
but its what it is.


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