No one spoke about ongoing genocide: Saheefa Jabbar calls out Bollywood’s silence on Palestine

The actor questioned why Bollywood stars are being admired despite failures to acknowledge the horrors in Palestine

Entertainment Desk May 28, 2024

Amidst the relentless critique aimed at Hollywood celebrities for their silence on the genocide in Palestine, actor Saheefa Jabbar Khattak has fired a salvo at Bollywood, questioning the deafening silence of its stars regarding Israel’s aggression in Gaza.

In a scathing Instagram story, the Rafta Rafta actor called out the hypocrisy of lauding Bollywood figures while they remain mum on the ongoing genocide. “While in the West everyone is blocking Hollywood celebrities and influencers, what are we doing about Bollywood? Our neighbouring country, where we are eager to work, and where we speak so highly of them in our interviews, none of them have spoken against the ongoing genocide,” wrote Khattak. “Please stop wishing them birthdays and hyping them up. Their government has banned us from working for them. In the past we were rarely offered decent roles, and now, during this genocide, the whole of India is silent. It's time that we focus on our craft, make better films and dramas, and stop seeking validation from them or anyone,” she continued. 


Khattak's outcry comes against the backdrop of Gaza’s health ministry reporting nearly 36,000 Palestinians killed in Israel’s offensive. Despite the escalating crisis, Bollywood stalwarts have largely remained silent, prompting criticism. 

While a few notable exceptions have spoken up, such as Sonam Kapoor, who shared pro-Palestine content on her Instagram story, and Priyanka Chopra, who highlighted the impact of Israeli aggression on children, the response from the Bollywood fraternity has been largely tepid.


Indian actor Kani Kusruti displayed solidarity with Palestine at the Cannes Film Festival by carrying a watermelon bag during the red carpet for her film, All We Imagine as Light, despite strict restrictions imposed by the festival. Similarly, Tanu Weds Manu actor Swara Bhaskar condemned the violence, emphasising the need to halt the genocide.


Khattak furthered on to voice, “Please feel free to tag me in the comment section of those Indian celebrities and influencers who have spoken for Palestine, or any Indian brand that has stood up against the genocide. Here you are, going to Indian artists' concerts, helping them become richer, and hyping them up in their comment sections.” She also revealed that she has fallen victim to the same, “I am guilty of commenting too, until very recently when I realised that none of them have spoken out. I am not perfect; I am still learning, reading, and researching.”


The actor also used her platform to critique Pakistan’s behaviour toward its minorities as she wrote, “To those who suggest I should focus on my own country first and address the killings happening here, my response is: please do some research on ethnic cleansing, wars, and genocide. The atrocities happening to minorities in our country are also inhumane, wrong, and painful and should be condemned. But for God's sake, do not say that one should condemn one wrong but not the other.” She continued to state, “To the higher powers in the government of Pakistan, I implore you, as a taxpayer, as a citizen of your country, to put an end to the genocide in our country. No one deserves this atrocity. We cannot forget that our flag is incomplete without the colour white, which represents our minorities who are also investing their hard work in Pakistan's growth and economy.” This statement could be seen in response to the recent attack on a Christian man in Sargodha.


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