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Homechevron_rightOpinionchevron_rightEditorialchevron_rightThe 'Gaza' on the...

The 'Gaza' on the Playground and 'Jai Shri Ram' Chanting in the Gallery

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The Gaza on the Playground and Jai Shri Ram Chanting in the Gallery
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Nusair Masrour, a 25-year-old, was one of the key players in the Moroccan team that made history by reaching the semifinals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. In the tournament, Masrour was in the starting lineup for five of Morocco's seven games. The young defender, who stood out as a wall in the defence, saw the stars of Spain, Belgium, and Croatia become ineffective. Even Kylian Mbappé hit the wall several times. Masrour repeated his performance for the national team for his club, Bayern Munich, in Germany. Masrour, who is in good form in the German league, the Bundesliga, has reportedly not been allowed to approach the training camp by coach Thomas Tuchel for a few days. The reason is not injury or poor form. The issue is a post he made on social media against the Israeli aggression in Gaza. It is said that the team management was pressured by political parties in the country who are supporters of Israel, in the name of the video that Masrour posted on Instagram with the prayer "Help our brothers in Palestine." They also sidelined Masrour by succumbing to the pressure. Masrour's experience is not unique on the playing fields of Europe. Many players have had similar experiences, being marginalized for expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Dutch star Anwar Al-Ghazi is another who has been suspended for expressing solidarity with Palestine. Al-Ghazi, a player for the German club Mainz, reportedly angered management with a post on social media with the words "Palestine will be free." There are similar news reports from France. Here, the Ligue 1 club Nice has fired Algerian player Youcef Atal for speaking out for the children killed in Gaza. The club authorities also say that Atal's sharing of a video of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh's speech was a serious offence. In general, such declarations of solidarity are common in stadiums and galleries. Even the start of many major soccer matches is with a pledge against racism. There are many examples of sporting venues becoming great experiences of humanity by declaring support for those affected by war, and refugees, and remembering those who have been victims of natural disasters, etc. To take the case of Palestine itself, many players, including legendary star Cristiano Ronaldo, have come forward in solidarity with the people. However, this time the sound of hatred and anger is being heard in stadiums. If any players come forward with support for those in distress, they are also subjected to hate speech. The hate campaigns currently being waged against Karim Benzema, one of France's all-time great players, are being led by the country's interior minister, Gérald Darmanin. The minister's demand is that Benzema's French citizenship be revoked because he is a supporter of Palestine. He also demands that Benzema be stripped of the Ballon d'Or, which is awarded to the best footballer in the world.

Recent events in European countries can also be seen as a continuation of the general trend that has been observed for some time. Extreme right-wing politics have been dominating European politics for several years now. In the view of these people, who are characterized by anti-immigration and Islamophobia, no Muslims in Gaza deserve to live on Earth. What about those who claim to have solidarity with them? German star Mesut Özil was 'tried' for taking a photo with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Even though Germany was knocked out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the first round, they crucified Özil, claiming that Muslim immigrants had caused the country to lose. In the end, he was fed up and had to retire from playing. He replied that the trend of being German when the team wins and a migrant when it loses is beyond tolerance. Many people have been subjected to abuse in European stadiums on the basis of being migrants, black people, Muslims, etc.

If the Israeli indiscriminate violence in Gaza is a crime, the neo-Nazis are pouring the fire of hatred and racism in the stadiums of Europe as a sign of solidarity with it. Its echoes are also resonating in our country. Just a few days ago, the 'Jai Shri Ram' chants heard in the gallery during the India-Pakistan World Cup match at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad was nothing but a manifestation of hatred and communalism. The slogans were heard when Pakistan's Muhammad Rizwan returned to the pavilion after being out. It is said that the 'fans' were provoked by Rizwan's prostrations on the ground during the previous match. In the 2011 World Cup, it was our government that converted the India-Pakistan match into a platform to re-establish diplomatic relations between the two countries. Look at the change that has come to our galleries in a week. What else can we do but be ashamed!

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TAGS:FootballFIFA World CupGaza StripIsrael Palestine ConflictKylian Mbappé
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