‘Iconic’ image of Palestinian protester in Gaza goes viral

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An image of a shirtless young protester in Gaza gripping a Palestinian flag with one hand and swinging a sling with the other has drawn comparisons with an iconic French Revolution painting.

Captured on October 22 by Mustafa Hassouna of Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, and published by Getty Images, the photo shows the man in the thick of a protest against the Israeli blockade.

With black smoke from burning tyres behind him as well as fellow demonstrators and reporters wearing protective jackets, the image has been tweeted more than 5,000 times.

Laleh Khalili, a SOAS University professor, shared the photo on Twitter on Tuesday, writing: “Holy sh** what an image. “13th attempt to break the Gaza blockade by sea”.”

She followed it up with a second tweet containing an image of Liberty Leading the People, a painting by Eugene Delacroix commemorating the July Revolution of 1830, which toppled King Charles X of France.

In that iconic painting, a woman symbolising liberty leads people over a barricade and the bodies, holding the tricolour – the flag of the French Revolution, which became France’s flag.

Several users agreed with the comparison.

“Snapped on the way to storming the bastille,” joked Yousef Munayyer, of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

Others noted similarities with different paintings depicting the French Revolution, David vs Goliath and Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea who supports the Greeks against the Trojans in the Trojan War.

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