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Millions Share ‘All Eyes on Rafah’ on Instagram: Here’s What the Image Means

May 29, 2024
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The latest Israeli strikes that killed at least 45 Palestinians, including many children, in tents full of displaced people in Gaza’s Rafah have drawn widespread condemnation from several countries and human rights groups. The Tal as-Sultan area, a designated “safe zone” in northwest of Rafah city, was hit by at least eight Israeli missiles, Al Jazeera reported quoting witnesses.

Currently home to hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians from all over the Gaza Strip, Rafah came under Israeli ground and air offensive on Sunday, despite widespread international concern over civilian casualties. The attack also left several tents on fire, which then swept through the area, killing more people. A fuel tank explosion, triggered by an Israeli airstrike, was responsible for the fire, NBC reported.

“All Eyes On Rafah”: What the image depicts

As visuals of charred bodies and those with severe injuries emerged on social media, an image with text, “All Eyes on Rafah”, started trending. The campaign, spearheaded by activists and humanitarian groups, aims to draw attention to the southern city of the Gaza Strip, where people have been forced to live in cramped refugee camps with no humanitarian aid.

The image shows tents at a camp arranged to form the words “All Eyes on Rafah”, urging people not to turn a blind eye to the situation in Gaza’s southernmost city, where approximately 1.5 million people have sought shelter after fleeing Israeli bombings.

Is the image real?

The image might be one of the first artificial intelligence-generated viral activism pictures. According to Marc Owen Jones, who studies misinformation, the image “looks” like it was created by AI. Not looking very real, having odd shadows, and the tent camp being unnaturally symmetrical are some of the signs that it’s an AI-generated image, NBC reported.

Where does the phrase come from?

The slogan is said to have originated from a statement by Rick Peeperkorn, director of the World Health Organization’s Office of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. He made the comment in February, shortly after Benjamin Netanyahu ordered an evacuation plan for Rafah ahead of attacks aimed at what the Israeli Prime Minister then claimed were the last remaining strongholds of the militant group Hamas.

How the image spread

Support groups like Save the Children, Oxfam, Americans for Justice in Palestine Action, Jewish Voice for Peace and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign have also adopted the slogan. On social media, the hashtag #AllEyesOnRafah has garnered over 1,95,000 posts with millions of views. It was also trending on Instagram on Tuesday, with nearly 1,00,000 additional posts on the platform

The image has been shared over 29 million times on Instagram in less than 24 hours.

Support for the campaign surged globally, with Indian celebrities, including Varun Dhawan, Madhuri Dixit, Aly Goni, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Tripti Dimri etc sharing the identical “All Eyes on Rafah” image on their Instagram stories. Internationally, figures like Australian cricket player Travis Head, British singer Leigh-Anne Pinnock, model Bella Hadid and actresses Saoirse-Monica Jackson and Susan Sarandon have voiced solidarity with Rafah.

As the world watches developments in Gaza, the “All Eyes on Rafah” campaign continues to garner support, amplifying the voices calling for peace and justice for Palestinians.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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