Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This profound and humane concept of tolerance sums up the principles inspiring the UNHATE CAMPAIGN, which Benetton has created with the aim of contrasting the culture of hatred and promoting closeness between peoples, faiths, cultures, and the peaceful understanding of each other’s motivations, using a global call to action and the latest communication tools. The worldwide communication campaign UNHATE, which is the first initiative by the newly-formed foundation of the same name, will be presented in a worldwide preview by Alessandro Benetton, Executive Deputy Chairman of Benetton Group, on Wednesday 16 November in Paris, at the flagship store in Boulevard Haussmann.
“While global love is still a utopia, albeit a worthy one, the invitation ‘not to hate’, to combat the ‘culture of hatred’, is an ambitious but realistic objective,” explains Alessandro Benetton. “At this moment in history, so full of major upheavals and equally large hopes, we have decided, through this campaign, to give widespread visibility to an ideal notion of tolerance and invite the citizens of every country to reflect on how hatred arises particularly from fear of ‘the other’ and of what is unfamiliar to us. Ours is a universal campaign, using instruments such as the internet, the world of social media, and artistic imagination, and it is unique, in that it calls the citizens of the world to action. At the same time, it fits perfectly with the values and history of Benetton, which chooses social issues and actively promotes humanitarian causes that could not otherwise have been communicated on a global scale, and in doing so has given a sense and a value to its brand, building a lasting dialogue with the people of the world.”
The UNHATE communication project includes a series of coordinated initiatives and events, starting on 16 November in the main newspapers, periodicals and websites around the world. The central theme is the kiss, the most universal symbol of love, between world political and religious leaders, such as: Barack Obama and Chinese leader Hu Jintao; Pope Benedict XVI and Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, Imam of the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo (the most important and moderate centre for Sunni Islamic studies in the world); the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. These are symbolic images of reconciliation – with a touch of ironic hope and constructive provocation – to stimulate reflection on how politics, faith and ideas, even when they are divergent and mutually opposed, must still lead to dialogue and mediation.
The new campaign, the creation of the Foundation and the other initiatives of the UNHATE project reflect Benetton’s wish to drive the desire for participation and change that animates the world’s citizens, and especially the young, inviting them to play an active, central role in its initiatives, particularly through the internet, social media and other digital applications. This marks a further step forward in Benetton’s communications, which elicit intervention and action from everybody, in the name of an “expanded”, open democracy, without physical, political, social or ideological boundaries.