Sport is a means of struggle and proof of existence
Algerian player Riyad Mahrez raises the Palestinian flag (Dave Thompson/AFP)
If the meaning of sport for the countries of the world is competition in winning and losing and art, then its meaning for Palestine goes far beyond that. Sport in Palestine is politics, culture and proof of existence. This Palestinian dimension of sport was created as a result of the subjugating Zionist colonialism, which has affected the Palestinian land and people since the middle of the last century, and is still ongoing, because Palestine was fought for in name and symbol, and the Western media machine that supports Zionism and the continuation of its state he tried to ignore the international community about the reality of Palestine and the civilization of its people. According to the Western and Zionist vision, Palestine can only be mentioned as an alternative to the name of its Zionist colonizers, and this was once unacceptable, especially during the last half century.
Mentioning Palestine means looking for its place in geography and history. This alone marks the beginning of an acquaintance between the world sports audience and the Palestinian cause. Therefore, when Palestine participates in a sporting event, the ultimate goal of the State of Palestine and its representatives in international stadiums is not just to seek victory, but participation is itself a victory, regardless of the outcome of the match or competition. in which Palestinians participate on behalf of their country, with sports supervisors determining Palestinian goals.
Since the 1990s, with the establishment of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the emerging Palestinian Authority on the soil of Palestine was interested in the development of sports, and sought to join international Olympic organizations, so that Palestine would participate in all possible competitions. at the Arab, regional and international levels.
The tools of the Palestinian struggle are multiple, and sport is one of the most important of these tools
These efforts culminated in the inauguration of the Palestine Championship by FIFA President Joseph Blatter in 2011, on the anniversary of the Nakba. The friendly football tournament ended its activities with the victory of the Hungarian Chevelle team over the Al-Hilal Al-Quds club, in a match that was held at the Martyr Faisal Al-Husseini Stadium, north of occupied Jerusalem. Sixteen Arab and foreign teams and clubs from Palestine, Jordan, Mauritania, the occupied Syrian Golan, South Africa, Senegal, Hungary and Chile participated in the tournament, which was held from May 15 to 23, in the presence of about 400 Arab and foreign athletes. media and political figures.
It is not only Palestinian sports that show the face of Palestine despite the boycott campaigns, but also Arab and international sportsmen have played an important role in exposing the practices of the Zionist occupation, including oppression, racism, killing and destruction, i.e. in showing the ugly face of the occupation.
Among the most prominent supporters of the Palestinian right in this field was the Egyptian player Muhammad Abu Trika, who wrote expressions of condemnation of the Gaza siege on his shirts, as well as the Senegalese, Bayern Munich Sadio Mane, the Algerian Manchester City player Riyad Mahrez, and the Egyptian Arsenal player Muhammad Al- Nani, Manchester United player Paul Pogba. The Scottish club Celtic is considered one of the most prominent supporters of the Palestinian struggle, whose fans, despite the sanctions imposed by FIFA, continue to support Palestine and raise its flag at every game, as well as the fans of the Spanish club Basque Lions, and some fans of the Paris team Saint-Germain also raised Palestinian flags in front of the Zionist team Maccabi Haifa.
This phenomenon was adopted or perhaps invented by some Arab football teams, especially the Algerian football team, whose players continued to display Palestinian flags, with the aim of reminding the world of Palestine and its cause. Egypt’s Al-Ahly are another synonym for Palestinian sports and political struggle, as fans of Tunisian, Algerian and Moroccan clubs cheer for Palestine in every game played in their stadiums.
Arab players refuse to play against the Zionists, so they are forced to withdraw from football, athletics, chess, boxing and wrestling, such as Kuwaiti jujitsu Abdullah Al-Anjari, who withdrew from the Japanese World Martial Arts Championship held in Los Angeles, USA in 2019. Also, in 2014, the Saudi national judo player, Issa Al-Majrashi, refused to fight against a Zionist player, announcing his withdrawal from the U-60 km World Judo Championship, which was held in Russia.
The positions of the Arab players are not limited to retreating, but they trigger different ways, as recently happened with the Egyptian U15 karate team, when the two first and second placers raised the flag of Palestine.
Before and during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, hundreds of Palestinians, Qataris, Saudis and other Arabs carried Palestinian flags and walked the streets of the Qatari capital, Doha.
The tools of the Palestinian struggle are multiple. Sport is one of the most important tools that the Palestinians, their Arab brothers and supporters of Palestine around the world use to expose the occupation and strengthen the name of Palestine in the memory of the world.
The Palestinian people are a creative people, in their struggle, patience and revolution. They are creative with their intellectuals and students, and in inventing and diversifying tools. Sports is one of the means they use to bring the cause to people’s minds. masses around the world. Israel is BDS.” When Palestine and its flag are prevented from appearing, Ukraine and its flags are allowed to appear in stadiums and on players’ shirts and badges. The double standards in which the Palestinians collide, but this did not stop the Palestinian and his friends and allies from trying and they succeeded more than once, and the success will be greater in the future.