soccer-palestineIt is unwise to argue with a group of people that are going through a systematic process of persecution, especially in football. Especially, when it involves Palestine. They may not be powerful; you may be. But they have their facts right. And that means the ownership of their land, which is slowly disappearing amid the warm concerns of the international community.

Approximately 500,000 people of Palestinian origin in the South American country of Chile are almost as close to the Palestinians as is to those who are residing in its immediate vicinities. There must be some sort of legitimacy to the statement considering the population of the immigrant community.


The above map is a very simpler illustration of how the it looked like in the occupied Palestine back in the day. It all goes back to pre WWII texts and incidents which I won’t get into but essentially  colonial Britain messed it up in Palestine with their divide and rule policy as they did in Middle East, India, East Asia and an attempt of that in North America. No offense to post colonial UK and none taken.

Backing up to the point of the actual argument, the Jewish community in Chile recently expressed outrage over Santiago side – Deportivo Palestino’s latest kit design. It illustrates the shape of the Palestinian map as the numerical one; the shape of the 1946 Palestinian territory. The club obviously had no intentions of causing any harm to the mindset of any sides. The sight of fans adorning keffiyeh’s and waving Palestinian flags is quite common at the Estadio Municipal de La Cisterna and away games. But several influential Zionists have voiced their frustrations related to the matter. Gerardo Gorodischer, president of Chile’s Jewish community, had this to say

“We know that FIFA prohibits such actions,”

“You cannot make a political claim and import the Middle East conflict using the platform of football, using the sport to lie and hate.”

Did he just realize this right now? Political claims and the Middle East conflict cannot be neglected in today’s game even if you wanted to. It is just a part of how the Middle East has systematized itself right now; from Egypt to Morocco to Saudi Arabia all the way to Israel. Yes, Israel. One should only travel to watch the rivalry between Beitar Jerusalem and Bnei Sakhnin. As a neutral, it is not about the game that you would be watching at the Teddy or Doha stadiums but the racial slurs that are thrown against each other.

Obviously their trick is to play stupid and spineless while actually uttering against something that a sane human can identify with.

Yes, it must be in the interest of the sport to have a grading of respect and obedience. But the constraints of government policies and its association with sport will never be relaxed amid all the biases. Suddenly, we have group of people thinking why a form of restriction should have such an authoritative hold.

Of course, this has further strengthened the Chilean Palestinians connection to their ancestral lands. Ex-Palestinian national team coach, Chilean Nicola Hadwa Shahwan, has re-iterated his support stating,

“El gesto del Club Deportivo Palestino de colocar en su camiseta el mapa del país del cual provienen, y cuyos colores defienden, sólo puede molestar a quien desee apropiarse de ese territorio por la fuerza, sin respetar la libertad de su pueblo. La paz debe estar basada en la justicia. Si a la comunidad judía en Chile le interesa abogar por la paz podrían ejercer presión frente al gobierno de Israel para que respete las resoluciones de las Naciones Unidas y permita que el pueblo palestino regrese a sus hogares…”

“The gesture of Deportivo Palestino of placing the map of Palestine on their shirt and whose colors it defends, can only disturb anyone taking the territory by force, and has no respect for the freedom of his people.
Peace must be based on justice. If the Jewish community in Chile is interested in advocating peace, they should exert pressure on the Government of Israel so that it respects the resolutions of the United Nations and allows the Palestinian people to return to their homes…”

Has it gone too far? We must think so. The answer is that it went; for the Jewish community to raise the issue and awaken the media to a fiesta that they could feast on, which could take a nasty turn. The latest identity of the club brought out raw honesty that represents them. The very identity Palestinian immigrants founded the club on August 20, 1920.

1 Comment

  1. There is no ‘Palestine’ therefore there will be no last laugh.

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