How these two Arab startups are joining forces to support #Gaza

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More and more individual and collective initiatives are being launched every day across the Arab region – and the whole world for that matter – to shed light and raise awareness on the current war in Gaza. A significant number of these initiatives come from entrepreneurs who have invested all their abilities and efforts for the cause.

This the first in a series about entrepreneurial initiatives attempting to highlight or help the situation in Gaza.

Two Arab startups, Visualizing Palestine, which produces carefully designed infographics in hopes of changing how the media and public think about Palestine, and The Online Project (TOP), the Middle East's leading social media agency, last month launched a long-term relationship to help publicize the Gaza solidarity movement.

In an interview with Wamda last year, VP co-founder Ramzi Jaber told us why he and Joumana al-Jabri focused on infographics when launching their startup, saying that “images are simply more visceral – we’ve been seeing much longer as a species than we’ve been reading. Infographics appeal to base human abilities.” 

The partnership between these two regional key players will be implemented in two stages: the first has already been set in motion, while the second is set for the long term. “It seems that empathy with Palestinians is increasing and we want to leverage this factor and further spread it in the region,” says Ahmed Barclay who works on research and the visual identity of the hybrid infographics producer and non-profit.

Products of the first stage look exactly like the work that VP is already doing: infographics to help further the Palestine solidarity movement. However, content in this case will focus exclusively on the latest and most important events in Gaza. Since the conflict began, VP has already published two infographics, the first of which is a comparison of mourning and grief healing between Americans after the 9/11 attacks and Palestinians who have not had the chance to heal yet since 2012 because of the continuous Israeli bombardment.

The second infographic is inspired by ceasefire attempts, listing every one between early 2013 and early 2014, showing that the Israeli side has violated ceasefire agreements 191 times in one year compared to 75 times by Palestinians. This “shows that Israel was the bigger infringer during this period,” says Barclay.

TOP comes into the picture when it comes to dissemination. The digital agency leverages its huge reach, posting these infographics on a wide scale and making sure they reach the highest number of readers possible.

The partnership’s second stage will entail the launch of a website within three months that will feature billboards with quotes on the Israeli occupation from influential people so as to raise awareness, as well as to encourage others to also raise their voices on the Gaza war as well as the broader occupation.

According to Barclay, the partnership will depend on people sharing their views. “We hope for this initiative to quickly grow so we can move in a short time to another level of initiatives, one that involves offline actions,” adds Barclay.

Both teams are currently raising donations to fund the initiative, keeping in mind other financial options that they might invoke as soon as the project needs more support. 

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