Riz Ahmed has taken to social media to issue a heartfelt plea, calling for an end to the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza’s civilians in the midst of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“We are told there are two sides to what is happening in Israel and Palestine. But in my heart, I know there is only one — the side of our humanity,” the Oscar-nominated actor expressed. “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.”
Following a Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of over 1,300 people, including many civilians, as reported by the New York Times, Israel officially declared war. In response, Israel has launched airstrikes, and the Palestinian Health Ministry has reported over 2,700 Palestinian casualties since the start of the war, according to the Times. The United Nations has estimated that at least 1 million residents of Gaza have been displaced, raising concerns about a humanitarian crisis.
“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 wrote. “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 is that we speak up. Staying silent is not an option.”
The ongoing conflict has led to a strong display of support for Israel from Hollywood, with more than 700 figures in the entertainment industry signing an open letter condemning Hamas and demanding the release of hostages held in Gaza. The letter was endorsed by notable individuals such as Gal Gadot, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Pine, Mayim Bialik, Liev Schreiber, Amy Schumer, Michael Douglas, Jerry Seinfeld, Debra Messing, Ryan Murphy, Greg Berlanti, Haim Saban, Irving Azoff, Ynon Kreiz, Mark Hamill, Howie Mandel, Bella Thorne, Antoine Fuqua, and others.