AI-Generated 'All Eyes On Rafah' Pic Criticised For Being "Removed From Reality"

The viral image has also drawn criticism as many are questioning the ethics of using an AI-generated image that does not show any of the brutalities in Rafah.

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Smoke billows from the skyline of Gaza, as charred and injured bodies lie strewn around a destroyed 'safety zone' camp. Israel's military operations in Rafah this week killed 45 civilians and injured hundreds, mostly women and children. In response, outraged international communities are condemning Israeli attacks in Rafah and calling for ceasefire. 

The outcry has been championed on social media through the 'All Eyes on Rafah' campaign, shared by over 46 million users including celebrities, activists and politicians, it has brought large-scale attention to the crisis in Gaza. 

Yet, the AI-generated campaign image, devoid of any violence or destruction, has raised criticisms about performative activism and erasing the brutal reality of the Gaza crisis. 

Experts say the image could have been generated by AI to bypass Meta's content moderation policies and ensure that it doesn't get taken down for depiction of violence or destruction.

However, the viral image has drawn criticism as many are questioning the ethics of using an AI-generated image that does not show any of the brutalities in Rafah, especially when large amounts of footage of death and destruction are being shared daily by civilians, aid workers and journalists on ground in Gaza. 

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Those criticising the trend have blamed the "sanitisation" of the conflict to make it social-media-friendly and risk erasing the truth of how grave of a crisis Palestinians are currently in. The lack of any human beings in the 'All Eyes on Rafah' image does not aptly capture the atrocities being committed against the displaced people of Gaza, they argued.

"Palestinians didn't go through and document the genocide happening just for us to use [an] AI image to raise awareness," an X user said.

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The AI-generated 'All Eyes on Rafah' campaign image features unnaturally symmetrical and pristine tent camps with no humans in sight.

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Another concern is that the campaign is veering towards performative activism, drawing parallels with the 'black square' Black Lives Matter social media trend in 2020. Many are sharing the 'All Eyes on Rafah' image without doing anything else to show solidarity with Palestinians. A charged levelled mainly towards celebrities, critics claim that sharing the image after months of silence on the issue may be a way to avoid backlash for not supporting the cause earlier. 

Another X user alleged that celebrities are partaking in the trend because it is "aesthetically pleasing", "vague and removed from reality". 

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One user labelled the trend as "slacktivism", and instead urged people to donate and take part in boycotts. 

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To combat this 'slacktivism', people have begun sharing actionable ways to support Gazans instead – by signing petitions, joining demonstrations etc. 

Visceral scenes of death and destruction have been the reality for Palestinians since the Israel-Hamas conflict began 8 months ago, and it seems unlikely to end anytime soon. Israel's announced today that they expect the conflict to continue for another 7 months, until the end of 2024. Amid global protests, student encampments, and boycotts, social media has become another avenue to express dissent. 

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