Genocide, genocide, genocide: Celebrities decry Israeli bombing of Palestinians refugees in Rafah

Israeli airstrike triggered fire on Monday, killing 45 people

Entertainment Desk May 28, 2024

As Israeli forces continue their barbaric assault on Rafah, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has drawn an outcry from celebrities and influential figures. The attacks, which recently targeted a tent camp housing displaced Palestinians in a designated safe zone, resulted in 45 deaths and have sparked intense reactions on social media.

Pakistani actor Mahira Khan voiced her anguish and condemnation on Instagram, stating, "Burnt people alive! While they slept in tents which were ‘safe zones’! Repeated bombings of refugees! What the hell kind of a world are we living in? Who are these people who can see burnt decapitated babies and not be shaken to the core? This power-hungry world has failed you, Palestine."


A post shared by Mahira Khan (@mahirahkhan)

Model and actor Amna Ilyas echoed these sentiments, questioning the state of the world: "When will all of this stop? What kind of world are we living in? It most certainly is becoming a hell. Humanity has left the world."

Survivors said families were preparing to sleep when the strike hit the Tel Al-Sultan neighbourhood where thousands were sheltering after Israeli forces began a ground offensive in the east of Rafah over two weeks ago. Video footage obtained by Reuters showed a fire raging in the darkness and people were screaming in panic.

Israel has kept up its offensive despite a ruling by the top UN court on Friday ordering it to stop, saying that the court's ruling grants it some scope for military action there. The court also reiterated calls for the immediate and unconditional release of hostages held in Gaza by Hamas.

Joining the protesting voices online, Nadia Hussain shared disturbing images and videos from Rafah, pleading for divine intervention. She wrote, "O Allah, please make it stop! Afflict the worst torment on these shameless Israelis. Earthquakes, storms, rocks or lightning strikes - do anything but please stop their unrelenting oppression of Muslims."

She furthered on, "O Allah, they (Palestinians) are innocent. How can someone innocent be subjected to this much cruelty? Genocide, genocide, genocide. This has been going on for too long… Even our voices are being stifled. Our posts are being removed from social media. No one is listening to us."

Actor Yumna Zaidi urged people to "stand up for Palestine." Taking to IG, she penned, "Several deaths were reported in another Israeli attack on Rafah, stand up for the truth," while Ali Rehman Khan underscored the sheer magnitude of brutality. The actor expressed his outrage over the violence, saying, "Charred and decapitated babies! Tents set on fire and they’re still playing the victim? This is genocide! And the world needs to wake up! The greatest of the war crimes humanity has ever witnessed and humanity and its torchbearers have failed. May Allah have mercy."


A post shared by Yumna Zaidi (@yumnazaidiofficial)

Among horrifying images from Rafah spreading across the internet, Palestinian families can be seen tending to the fragmented bodies of their loved ones, mostly women and children. Israel admitted that a strike it carried out against commanders of a militant group in Rafah had caused the fire.

Emphasising the helplessness that has set in en masse since Rafah’s deadly attack and subsequent lack of effective intervention, Ayesha Omar insisted, "All eyes on Rafah. All eyes on Falesteen. All eyes are witnessing the horror. And the world stands helpless. We have failed humanity in every way. Ya Allah Reham. Ya Allah this must stop. Now."


A post shared by Ayesha Omar (@ayesha.m.omar)

Musician Umair Jaswal shared the widely circulating evocative artwork depicting Rafah as a burning hand, accompanied by hashtags #Palestine and #Genocide. Highlighting the growing trend of censorship on social media, many users report that hashtags like #FreePalestine lead to shadowbanning, a practice where their posts receive less visibility.

Activist and artist Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Jr posted a screenshot showing his Instagram Story being removed, one case in point of digital censorship. The original post declared, "hell was made for zionists," and Bhutto expressed frustration over Instagram's inconsistent content policies. "Literally - I’ve complained to Instagram of videos with graphic content that never get removed. Yes frankly all Zionists deserve hell," he wrote in the caption.

In response to reports of censorship, actor Zara Tareen promoted a digital protest planned for June 1, a "Global Log Out Day." Her Instagram post called for a 24-hour boycott of Meta platforms, stating, "Global log out day. Meta and Instagram are silencing and restricting free speech. Let’s log out for at least one whole day to let them know the subscriber is the power, not the platform."


A post shared by Zara Tareen (@ztareen)

Naimal Khawar summed up the collective sentiment of frustration and sorrow: "O Allah help. Feeling helpless, angry, and scared for the people of Rafah. The devastation and suffering are beyond words. Praying for an end to this violence." In light of increasing social media restrictions, many celebrities and supporters of Palestine are using alternative spellings like "FreePlastine" and abbreviations like "PS" to avoid censorship and continue spreading their messages of solidarity and condemnation.

The unrelenting brutality of the Israeli apartheid regime also drew outrage from across the border. Indian actor Radhika Apte reshared a series of videos and posts about the Rafah attack on her Instagram Stories. One of the posts read, "We are running out of words. The videos out of Rafah are beyond horrific. Traumatising. More traumatising than we have collectively witnessed thus far." Actor Gauahar Khan also highlighted the ongoing plight of families in Gaza via a series of IG Stories to amplify the cause. 

Following its latest assault, Israel's military claimed that the strike had eliminated Hamas' chief of staff for the second and larger Palestinian territory, the West Bank, plus another official behind deadly attacks on the Israelis. That followed the interception of eight rockets fired towards Israel from the Rafah area.

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