Sports & Genocide

The Nakba Day in Dublin displayed the best of humani­ty when for the first time, the Palestinian National Wom­en’s Football Team played on a European ground. Not just a match, but an iconic symbolism to assert where Ireland stands on the Palestine question. Even more, a lead for the rest of the world to follow is what Ireland did by organizing this match with Pales­tinian flags being waved all over. About to officially recognize Pal­estine, Ireland displays the best there is in all of Europe when it comes to a principled stance against a wild oppressor.

Football is a sport that has enough power and influence over the world. However, since October 7, we have seen only a crack­down and silencing of the audience deliberately bringing Pal­estinian flags to show solidarity. The idea that sports must be apolitical finds sharp contrasts when the whole of the West­ern world mourned over Ukraine and the conflict was brought inside the grounds and stadiums. What changes then when it comes to Gaza; of children dying, a genocide being committed in the open? We have the answer in FIFA’s attitude over suspend­ing Israel from the Women’s World Cup. As requested by the Palestine Football Association, the request was conveniently set aside for consideration later. Compare this with how a ban on Russia from the Paris Olympics 2024 was announced. No time was sought for deliberation, just a straight ban. If sports are apart from politics, what explains the testimonial matches held for Ukraine? Nothing is apolitical in today’s world. If football is, 91 football players should have been exempted from brutal kill­ing in Gaza by Israel. It is downright hypocritical that German Football Club, Mainz, can suspend Anwar El Ghazi’s contract over posts favouring Palestine but Soccer associations move matches away from Russia and football starts wearing yellow and blue without being called out for ‘politicising’ sport.

Pictured with Netanyahu recently, the heads of FIFA and UEFA have chosen to be on the side of the genocide while they tell the world that they cannot indulge in that very question. West’s complicity casts its heavy shadow on sports as well where Zi­onism remains unpunished but any kind of support for Pales­tine bears consequences.

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