An image of a shirtless young protester in Gaza gripping a Palestinian flag with one hand and swinging a slingshot over his head with the other has drawn comparisons with the iconic French Revolution painting, Liberty Leading the People.
Captured on October 22 by Mustafa Hassouna of Turkey's Anadolu Agency, the photo shows 20-year-old Palestinian A'ed Abu Amro seeming to rise out of the thick of a protest against the Israeli blockade.
He appears in sharp contrast to fellow demonstrators and reporters in protective jackets behind him, all set against a background of black smoke from burning tyres. The image has been tweeted over 5,000 times.
When a Michelangelo with a camera captures David fighting Goliath in action.— (((YousefMunayyer))) (@YousefMunayyer) October 24, 2018
Getty image by Mustafa Hassouna pic.twitter.com/MgJAbr7JwQ
Abu Amro lives in the al-Zaytoun neighbourhood in Gaza City. He protests every Friday and Monday with friends.
"I was surprised this picture of me went viral," he told Al Jazeera. "I participate in protests on a weekly basis, sometimes more. I didn't even know there was a photographer near me."
Amro said that his friends sent him the image - taken in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza - the next day, having spotted it being shared on social media.
"I don't go to protests to get pictures of me taken, but this has encouraged me to continue demonstrating," he said.
"The flag I was carrying is the same one I always hold in all the other protests I've attended. My friends make fun of me, saying it is easier to throw rocks without holding a flag in the other hand, but I got used to it.
"If I get killed, I want to be wrapped in the same flag. We are demanding our right of return, and protesting for our dignity and the dignity of our future generation."
"13th attempt to break the Gaza blockade by sea". (Photo by Mustafa Hassouna, Andalou Agency for Getty).— Fred Oumar KANOUTÉ (@FredericKanoute) October 24, 2018
Does it look familiar, especially to the French?#FreePalestine #EndTheBlockade pic.twitter.com/hswvIWmfF9
Beautiful Image of David Vs Goliath— Revenant410 (@revenant410) October 24, 2018
Oh the irony!
Photo of the year! Powerful stuff. https://t.co/OWSA9ufTsO— Zaid Rahim (@zaid_rahim) October 25, 2018
I dare you to see this image and not stare contemplating all the complexity https://t.co/JdoFuLmsVH— antonietta priolo (@antoniettampa) October 25, 2018
They say a picture speaks a thousand words 📸 https://t.co/Aay59eyiVG— pádraig (@podymc) October 25, 2018
I cant stop staring at this photo https://t.co/DOsXTsJDfu— HiMaui🌺🇵🇷 (@HiMaui) October 25, 2018
For nearly seven months, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have protested along the fence with Israel demanding their right to return to the homes and land their families were expelled from 70 years ago.
The protesters are also demanding an end to the crippling 11-year Israeli blockade of the enclave.
courtesy : aljazeera.com
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This report was first published in thewire.in and has been posted here without any alterations or editing. To read the original report, CLICK HERE
New Delhi: Over 650 members of civil society have demanded a stop to the ‘vendetta politics’ against Harsh Mander and other activists, adding that the Centre has been “misusing” regulatory institutions and laws like the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act (FCRA) to harass civil society institutions.
The statement comes after a case was registered under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act over alleged violations by two shelter homes in South Delhi which were established by the Centre for Equity Studies (CES), an NGO that Mander is associated with.
In the statement, the signatories said that the Centre’s targeting of Mander, a former IAS officer, and the CES is a continuation of the “politics of vendetta” and is symptomatic of how “those who dissent are being dealt with in India today”.
“The egregious attacks on the Centre for Equity Studies ranging from wild accusations of sexual misconduct in two of the children’s homes run by the organisation to the fishing expedition being undertaken by the Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police are but two examples of the recent attacks on Harsh Mander and the institutions associated with him,” the statement says.
Condemning “the attacks on Harsh Mander and the Centre for Equity Studies”, the signatories demanded an end to “vendetta politics” and that regulatory institutions and laws should not be “misused” to harass civil society institutions. “Allow democratic spaces for civil society to operate and give due recognition of their role in nation-building,” the added.
The full statement, along with the list of signatories, has been reproduced below.
Civil Society statement for Harsh Mander/Centre for Equity Studies
Stop vendetta politics against civil society and persecution of citizens associated with civil society
One of the most disturbing trends in India in the recent years, along with the decline in Constitutional values and shrinking space for civil society, is the demonisation and persecution of activists and organisations. The active hounding of Harsh Mander, a former bureaucrat and one of the most respected names in civil society, and the institutions he is associated with like the Centre for Equity Studies (CES) is the most recent example of the vendetta politics of the government.
An officer of the Indian Administrative Service, Harsh Mander quit the civil service in 2002 in the wake of the Gujarat riots and has since then been a part of significant civil society initiatives. He has served as the head of ActionAid India, co-founder of the Centre for Equity Studies, co-founder of Karwan-e-Mohabbat – an initiative to promote love and communal harmony, and was member of the National Advisory Council chaired by the Chairperson of the UPA. His close association with people’s movements including the Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI) amongst others, gave him a unique perspective on social changes processes that is rare amongst social activists. Throughout his career, Harsh Mander’s central concerns have been the most marginalised people in India – the urban homeless, leprosy patients, Dalits and Muslims, and children living on the streets.
It is this aspect of his work that encapsulated the activities of the Centre for Equity Studies since it was founded more than two decades ago. Over the years, CES has emerged as one of the leading pro-poor policy institutions, bridging grassroots actions with constructive engagement on social policy. Till 2014, CES ran a network of 51 children’s homes across the country covering hundreds of children and was responsible for the Central Government’s guidelines on the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for street children. CES brings out the annual India Exclusion Report which has emerged as one of the most authoritative report on social exclusion covering the most marginalised communities in the country. Between 2004 and 2014, CES was part of many of the processes for landmark rights-based legislations like the National Food Security Act and the Right to Information Act.
That the current regime has now chosen to target a distinguished civil society organisation like CES in the continuing politics of vendetta to silence Harsh Mander is symptomatic of how those who dissent are being dealt with in India today. The egregious attacks on the Centre for Equity Studies ranging from wild accusations of sexual misconduct in two of the children’s homes run by the organisation to the fishing expedition being undertaken by the Economics Offences Wing of Delhi Police are but two examples of the recent attacks on Harsh Mander and the institutions associated with him.
As civil society leaders representing a very wide range of constituencies and work across the country, we unequivocally condemn the attacks on Harsh Mander and the Centre for Equity Studies and demand:
- An end to vendetta politics towards Harsh Mander and the Centre for Equity Studies
- Stop misusing regulatory institutions and laws like the FCRA to harass Civil Society institutions
- Allow democratic spaces for civil society to operate and give due recognition of their role in nation building