The man by the Twitter handle of Sallar sat in his home somewhere in Iran, probably wearing jeans, and tweeted this picture. This photo could've been taken by anyone anywhere in the world, be it in the United States, Israel or Iran. The world community has become so similar in so many ways, and still there seem to be walls built around our sections of the world that keep us from seeing any other nation for what they actually are. Despite the widespread outrage in response to Netanyahu's comment, I'm almost certain that somebody (or likely a large number of people throughout the world) agreed with him and the way he thinks Iranians live their lives. Despite the tyranny of their government, the people of Iran do, in fact, wear jeans and listen to Western music. This is just hidden by the image we have created of Iran, among many other Islamic nations throughout the Middle East. It makes us sure that their nations are dark and robotic.
Our image of Iran and other parts of the Middle East is outdated. In a region so plagued by conflict, it is difficult to imagine people living normal lives and coming home to listen to pop or rock and roll, but these people really do exist, as we can see from the image above. How can we work to build bridges between nations and improve communication to end conflict when we don't even understand the countries that are constantly in the news? With media coverage often discussing conflict, nuclear weapons and warfare, it is easy to assume Iran is a "bad" place. Even Netanyahu, prime minister of a nation much closer to Iran than the United States, seems to hold this distorted image of the nation. But behind conflict and government lie real human beings who have families and wear jeans and listen to Western music, just like us. In order to find the humanity in another culture, we must learn to look past the images that media and our society provide.