All eyes on Rafah: Bollywood breaks silence on Palestine amidst Blockout 24

Indian celebs are taking to their IG stories to condemn Israeli bombardment 

Entertainment Desk May 29, 2024

Bone-chilling images of bloodied Palestinian children, and families laden with all their worldly belongings fleeing impending doom are seeping across the world, and now, Bollywood actors have joined the ranks of celebrities raising their voices to condemn the atrocities in Rafah. 

After an Israeli airstrike sparked a fire that killed 45 displaced Palestinians in what should have been a safe zone, the global outcry against Israeli atrocities has skyrocketed, this time with heretofore silent celebrities taking up the mantle. 

Taking to her Instagram stories, Bollywood actor Sonam Kapoor, who has spoken up about Palestine previously, registered her protest by posting the now-viral image of refugee tents arranged to spell “All Eyes on Rafah”. According to NBC News, the image has drawn more than 29 million shares on Instagram in less than 24 hours, highlighting a renewed social media push to yet again condemn the humanitarian crisis. 

Other Indian celebrities who banded together to push the viral “All Eyes on Rafah” image on their IG stories include Ritika Sajdeh, wife of Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma, as well as actors Varun Dhawan, Kriti Kharbanda, Bhumi Pednekar, Triptii Dimri, Dia Mirza, Kunal Thakur, Nora Fatehi, Hina Khan, Swara Bhaskar, and Rakul Preet Singh. 

Comedian Munawar Faruqui, too, felt compelled to share the same image, as well as former tennis player Sania Mirza, and stand-up comedian Vir Das. Meanwhile, rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh posted the word “RAFAH” against a black background with a broken heart emoji, and actor Malaika Arora penned the heartwrenching note, “There is no such thing as killing children legally”. In a similar vein, designer Farah Ali Khan posted the question, “Why is the world silent? Why are you silent?” 

According to experts, the “All Eyes on Rafah” image appears to have been created by artificial intelligence and has proved to be a way for social media users to avoid censorship. 

Images and videos posted by Palestinian journalists depicting the aftermath of the Israeli strike have been restricted or removed from social media for being too graphic. The AI-generated image does not depict any violence happening on the ground, yet gets across the sentiment effectively. Therefore, it has been deemed a “safe” way for social media users to continue to keep Rafah on the radar in the minds of the online community. 

Whilst Indian celebrities have now joined the fray of those who are condemning the ongoing barbaric assault on Palestinians, many commenters questioned the conspicuous absence of Bollywood superstars Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan. One other user, unmoved by the onslaught of Palestinian support, wrote, “It took them seven months to wake up. It took them so many children to be butchered and burned alive. Actually, they were waiting to see which side the wind will flow. They were waiting for the time when their careers won’t get affected.” 

The unforgiving sentiment was echoed by other users. Other cynical commenters, too, questioned their true intentions. “They made 5 lac each for posting that AI image!” wrote one follower. Other users feel that the spike in celebrity support has been born out of a fear of being placed on the list of celebrities being blocked en masse, or Blockout 2024, which arose in the wake of the Met Gala. “After effects of Blockout 2024”, captioned one user, not taking the celebrities’ support at face value. 

The Israeli government has called the air strike a "tragic mishap", which seems to have proved to be a wake-up call for celebrities to leap into action as images of charred bodies continue to seep onto screens across the world.

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