Palestinian graffiti artist shows pain of Gaza’s people on walls of destroyed buildings

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Under the ever-present threat of Israeli strikes, the pain of Gaza’s people — and especially its children — is memorialized on the remains of many bombed-out structures thanks to the work of a local Palestinian graffiti artist.

Bilal Khalid, 33, has painted the walls of buildings destroyed by Israeli bombardment in the hope of attracting the world’s attention to the “crimes and massacres” Tel Aviv has committed against the Palestinian people.

“I have worked as a photojournalist since the beginning of the war to report on the crimes and massacres committed by Israel against civilians, especially children, in the Gaza Strip,” he told Anadolu.

Khalid said he decided to change his method of showing the world the devastation in Gaza in a way that would avoid images of death and violence, rather using an artform he much admired and loved: calligraphy.

In his new work, called Dreams Buried in the Ground, Khalid drew the word “dreams” in Arabic calligraphy.

Khalid, who lives in Rafah city in southern Gaza, said he chose the wall of a home where Israeli warplanes killed 13 Palestinians.

“In this project, we are talking about children who have lost their simplest dreams in life, such as a safe place, clean clothes, and a hot meal. We are talking about more than 16,000 children whose right to life was snatched away and who were killed in this genocide,” he said.

Khalid said many dreams have been buried under the rubble of the building he was working on and that thousands of structures in the Gaza Strip are no longer standing because of Israel’s war.

“We are trying to make our voices heard to the world, even if doing so has changed nothing about what has happened in Gaza so far. Because the world is still watching the Gaza war blindly, mute, and without motion,” he said.

But this does not prevent Gaza’s people from delivering their message to free peoples in the rest of the world, he added.

“We are trying to prove to the world through art that we are a people determined to survive and live in these lands,” he said.

Khalid hopes that Israel’s devastating attacks on the Gaza Strip will end and children will live their lives normally, like their peers in other nations across the world.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas. The ensuing Israeli war has killed more than 29,600 people and caused mass destruction and shortages of necessities. Nearly 70,000 people have been injured.

Around 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

The Israeli war on Gaza has pushed 85% of the territory’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel is accused of genocide by the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

Hostilities have continued unabated, however, and aid deliveries remain woefully insufficient to address the humanitarian catastrophe.

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