Tagged 'unity'

Unique Coca-Cola vending machine links India, Pakistan

Earlier this year, Coca-Cola installed the latest of its “Open Happiness” vending machines with an ambitious aim: to break down barriers between India and Pakistan. The idea, coming out of a simple insight, is that what unites us is stronger than what sets us apart.

One vending machine was installed in a mall in New Delhi and one in a mall in Lahore, in Pakistan. These cities are separated by only 325 miles but are seemingly worlds apart due to decades of sociopolitical tension. The “Small World Machines” provided a live communications portal that linked strangers divided by more than just national borders, with the hope of promoting cultural understanding. The machines were equipped with first-of-its-kind 3D touch-screen technology that projected a streaming video feed while simultaneously filming through the unit to capture a live exchange. People on each end (and various walks of life) were encouraged to perform a friendly act together—wave, touch hands, draw a peace sign or dance—before sharing a Coca-Cola.

The resulting video, which went viral on social media, features affectionate encounters, such as a young girl in Delhi touching hands with an older woman on the Pakistani side, as well as more spirited interactions, like an impromptu dance-off between two men in their 60s that went on for several minutes. The initiative was a great way to remind people that their cultures are more similar than different and a small step to bringing them closer.

Turkish newspaper ‘Zaman’ calls for national unity at a time of polarization

Turkey’s ethnically diverse society often struggles with the question, “How can we stand together as a nation, for we are actually a mosaic?” The nation is in search of its binding element. Currently, Turkey is enjoying a good economy, but is more polarized than ever by religion (between conservatives and liberals)—unity is more at stake than it ever was. At times like this, the Kurdish freedom struggle finds great opportunity—Turkey’s Kurds have been seeking independence for 30-plus years—but the ruling party is seeking agreements with Kurdish representatives, unlike previous governments.

Best-selling national newspaper Zaman, read by voters of the ruling party, tried a positive approach to bringing the nation together in a late 2012 ad titled “A call for unity and brotherhood.” Set to soothing string instruments and a sturdy drumbeat, the commercial shows Turkish citizens of many ethnicities and occupations joining hands in a joyous human chain that’s encircling the nation. A singer explains how all people in the world want freedom, and despite differences, tolerance is within reach. On-screen text explains, “This is a call for unity. This is the time for unity.” At the end of the ad, we see a Kurdish Peshmerga, either a freedom fighter or a terrorist, depending on one’s perspective. Though some considered the Kurdish element provocative, most have been supportive of the spot, feeling that it’s time to find a new middle ground.