By Ewelina Lepionko
Celine a little Palestinian girl from Gaza City, hugs the doll she was gifted for Eid amidst the ruins of her bombshell home.
Nobody expects the series of photos of a little girl with a doll will go viral on the Internet. The photo of Celine holding a doll in the ruins of the tower block that was brought down by Israeli airstrikes gets world attention.
Falling buildings, burning cars, screams, and injuries. I lived these moments on May 12, 2021, but my feelings can't compare to what a 2-year-old child felt that day. I wanted to see a happy version of Celine through my camera, and unexpectedly, that led to my peak photography experience.
"I was surprised that within hours the photo went viral and received attention across the world."
Shaban El Sousi
Shaban is a young Gazan who works as a freelance photographer to capture the bittersweet moments of the city.
“a little Palestinian girl holds doll amid rubble of damaged building in #Gaza” by @/shabanelsousi via @/eye.on.palestine at instagram.— 🦅 (@MNIMALISTE) May 13, 2021
this is heartbreaking. #freepalastine #GazaUnderAttack pic.twitter.com/mZpPckrRJ1
Now, his aim is to turn that into something more concrete - not only for himself and Celine but also for aid agencies in Gaza.
Shaban put this picture up for auction at a starting price of $1m in an innovative if highly speculative, effort to raise much-needed aid money for children in the territory.
Shaban says that half of any proceeds from the auction of a non-fungible token (NFT) of the image - essentially a digital asset that gives the buyer ownership through its unique code - will go to Unicef and Palestine Children's Relief Fund. The rest will be shared between himself and Celine's family. Both organizations have expressed their support for the auction, saying that such funds are desperately needed.
The photographer hopes that this image can rise above the violence and pain to turn things in Gaza.
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