Oscar-winning actor Riz Ahmed posted an impassioned plea on Instagram on Monday, calling for “an end to the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza’s civilians” amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“We are told there are two sides to what is happening in Israel and Palestine, he wrote in a series of posts on Instagram Stories.
“But in my heart, I know there is only one — the side of our humanity. What happened in Israel last week was horrific and wrong. The pain and fear so many are feeling is deep and real. What’s happening in Gaza now, and has been happening in Palestine under the Occupation for decades, is horrific and wrong. The depth and reality of this suffering cannot be ignored.”
Ahmed continued, “If we look only in one direction, we will go even deeper into darkness. But that is exactly what is happening right now. We are being asked to look away while the civilians of Gaza, half of them children, are running out of time.”
“If we are on the side of humanity we must urgently speak up to try and avert the loss of innocent life. This means calling for an end to the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza’s civilians and vital infrastructure, the denial of food, water and electricity, the forced displacement of people from their homes. These are morally indefensible war crimes.”
“We need to put ourselves in the shoes of the people of Gaza, now, before we all walk past the point of no return,” Ahmed continued.
“If like me you have been grappling to find the right words, there are none. No words can encompass the pain, heal the rifts or do justice to all these injustices. Whatever you say will be too much for some and not enough for others. But what matters it that we speak up. Staying silent is not an option.”
On October 7, Hamas launched a multi-pronged attack on Israel via air, sea and ground catching Israel unaware. Israel officially declared war and has since retaliated with airstrikes, including carpet-bombing the densely populated Gaza strip.
Gaza authorities say more than 2,800 people have been killed in Israeli attacks since October 7, around a quarter of them children, and more than 10,000 wounded are in hospitals desperately short of supplies, according to Reuters.
The United Nations has estimated at least 1 million residents of Gaza have been displaced, stoking fears of a humanitarian crisis.
The war has divided the entertainment industry, in terms of show of support.
Last week, over 700 people from the entertainment industry, including actors Gal Gadot, Michael Douglas and Jerry Seinfeld, signed an open letter in support of Israel.
Meanwhile, model Gigi Hadid, who is of Palestinian descent, voiced her support for Gaza last week, but it resulted in backlash.
On Instagram, Hadid wrote, “My thoughts are with all those affected by this unjustifiable tragedy and every day that innocent lives are taken by this conflict – too many of which are children. I have deep empathy and heartbreak for the Palestinian struggle and life under occupation, it’s a responsibility I hold daily.”