Israelis, Lebanese engage and change,

in Middle East and North America

Monday, 21 May 2007


"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dreams."
        Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory -- 1971 film


     It seems that one of the first peaceful dialogues to follow the Second Lebanon War comes out of the music scene.
     Two heavy metal bands, one Israeli and the other Lebanese, met online and joined forces to perform a new song -- Everything We Are.
     "Obviously, the song deals with the last war between Israel and Lebanon, and its implications.
     "It speaks about the silent majority around the world that does nothing while extremists spread their ideals of hatred and violence," Kfir Gov, leader of the Israeli band, Seek Irony told Ynet.
     HEAR Everything We Are at .

     The relationship between the two bands started before the war broke, on
      The Israeli musicians got a message saying "Good Luck, Keep it up! From your neighbors in Lebanon."
     They thought it was "really cool of them" and were excited to find out that there was a metal band in Lebanon that sounded really good.
     So they replied, saying, '"hanks a lot, stay in touch, from your neighbors in Israel.'
     They stayed in touch and when the war broke out became closer because they chatted on instant messenger everyday.

     They talked about going on a joint European tour together, or a joint show somewhere neutral.
     Or maybe have the two bands perform at the same time in each country.
     Quickly discovering the impossibility of logistics, they began considering a joint song.

     "We are simply musicians," says Kfir, "that's why we decided to use music to try and help bring the two sides closer together.
     I think it's ironic that by using a common denominator as simple as music, Rab and I have found a way to create a normal, reasonable dialog across the border, while our leaders, who are actually the ones responsible for finding the solution for this crisis, have failed and are having a hard time doing so themselves.
     Rab and I communicated throughout the war and it was incredible to see the Lebanese' perspective.

     We believe that giving politicians sole responsibility is part of the problem, especially the kind of politicians that are leading these countries nowadays.
     We're calling people on both sides to speak up and express their opinion, because it is our duty.
     We call on people to stop spreading the extreme preaching of hate and violence.
     "Real open discussion is the only way to resolve the conflict and actualize each of our goals and interests."

     "The main message is clear: 'People, open your eyes! Do not live the lies youre being told.' To show that we all can live together in peace only if we want to, and the song is the proof."
     Rab, the Lebanese musician, was asked if his opinion of each others countries changed?
     "It has drastically changed.
     "Since the day I was born, I was told we were enemies; I never thought I could have an Israeli friend.
     "I discovered that were not really enemies like I was told."
     READ the full story:

Published by YNetNews -- 13 May 2007

On the Web,7340,L-3397845,00.html

Metal will bring peace

by Ronen Tsumer


     An Israeli Jew and a Lebanese Arab were among this 2007 years graduates who overcame personal hardship and thrived during their school years together at New York University.
     Rayan Houdrouge is son of a Shia Muslim Lebanese from the southern Lebanon village of Qana, target of Israeli shelling in 1996 and 2006.
     Omer Granit is a Jewish Israeli who served with the Israeli Defense Force in southern Lebanon.
     He lost many of his friends in violence involving Israelis, Lebanese and Palestinians.
     The two began their studies at NYUs School of Law during the most recent conflict between Lebanon and Israel countries.
     Their backgrounds and personal experiences -- the loss of family and friends during the fighting -- would seemingly put them at odds.
     Yet,  they became friends at NYU, to their own surprise.
     Even more, Rayan Houdrouge ( ) and Omer Granit ( ) are now in the process of establishing an initiative to promote peace between Israel and Lebanon that will include bringing together Arab and Israeli students to engage and communicate well, like their own experience.
     READ their inspiring commencement speech, during which they rotated parts, at:

     SEE the full story at:

Israeli-Lebanese peace achieved at NYU

After losing friend in battle during summer war,

Israeli law student forms unlikely friendship with Lebanese

student whose relatives were wounded by IDF fire.

The two give graduation speech at NYU, saying dialogue is still possible

Published in YNet -- Monday, 14 May 2007,2506,L-3399570,00.html

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"There are those who 'cross the Jordan' and seek out truth
through a different experience from the one they are born to,
and theirs is the greatest struggle...For here is the real conflict
by which we move to manhood and maturity.

"...Unless we know how to embrace 'the other', we are not men,
and our nationhood is willful and adolescent. 
Those who struggle through the turbulent Jordan waters have gone
beyond the glib definition of politics or religion.

"The rest remain standing on either bank, firing guns at one another."

        from An Evil Cradling - 1991
        Brian Keenan  ( Irish author, Beirut hostage)