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"And Still We Rise" Palestinian Soccer Stands Tall

Society & Culture  (tags: culture, soccer, Israel, Gaza, Australian Asia Cup, FIFA, Palestine, Palestinian human rights )

- 1478 days ago -
The 165th FIFA ranked Palestinian Soccer Team surprises the soccer world by clenching a spot in the next year's Asia Cup in Australia, with a stunning victory in Gaza City. These players have been seasoned by the IDF.

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Fiona Ogilvie (565)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 3:22 am
The Palestinian team has had to confront a lack of resources, poverty, isolation, but above all else, obstacle after obstacle imposed upon their development by the state of Israel. The national team has been crippled for decades by the violent targeting of soccer players on both the Olympic and national teams by the Israeli Defense Forces.

For the Palestinian soccer team to be able to secure a spot in high level FIFA sponsored international play was an inspiring eighty six years in the making.

Founded in 1928, the Palestinian national soccer team has for the first time won the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup. Following its 1-0 victory over the Philippines, the Palestinian team will now play in the Asian Cup 2015, qualifying for a major international tournament for the first time in its history.

The Palestinian footballers have accomplished this despite unfathomable roadblocks the likes of which tower over anything faced by the any other players of this wonderful game that holds the hearts of so many around the world.

The restriction of movement, the checkpoints, the inability to practice because players are detained, have made being a part of the Palestinian national team, according to one player: “a risk, a burden and a blessing.”

In the face of all of these restrictions, any success achieved by the national team is more than just an inspiration for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It is sustenance.

Fiona Ogilvie (565)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 3:30 am
When the Philippines fell to Palestine, it was watched by thousands of people in Gaza City, who gathered together to watch the match. Movie screens were erected on the beach and drums were beaten in rhythm with the contest. When Palestinian striker Ashraf Al Fawaghra scored the winning goal on a free kick, it was fireworks, not bombs, that lit the night sky. The Reuters news service, as published in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, quoted Adel Waleed, a 45-year-old teacher who watched the game with his children. Waleed said, “It is not the World Cup, but our happiness feels like we won the World Cup.”

Coach Jamal Mahmoud, who by all counts was masterful throughout the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup, understood that this was more than a milestone sports victory: it was an advance in the project to make the Palestinian people visible to the world.

Mahmoud described the ascension to the Asian Cup as “a platform for the country.“ He also said, “This is very important to all Palestine. We want to send a message to the world that we want sports and peace in Palestine. We can do more things if we have peace in Palestine. It is very important for us to go to the Asian Cup.” The New York Times, in a stirring article by James Montague, quoted Mahmoud saying, “All the people in Palestine will watch and will be happy if we win…. the world will see the Palestinian people. This is very important.”

We are seeing right now in Brazil the ways in which the glories of soccer are being used as a cover to displace people from their homes and crush popular resistance.

In Gaza and the West Bank, we are seeing the opposite: the ways in which the hypnotic flair of the beautiful game can make an oppressed people ready to face another day.

mary f (202)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 4:39 am
good luck to them

Angelika R (143)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 5:22 am
Congratulations to them, may they rise further to the pride of their nation. Thx Betsy

Birgit W (160)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 5:32 am
Thanks for sharing.

Frank G (216)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 5:45 am
That's a great story.

Judy T (227)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 5:52 am
Kudos to the Palestinian Soccer Team! :) Soccer is such a wonderful sport!

B Lewenza (76)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 6:20 am
Noted and shared and forwarded, Congratulations on your superb win, all the very best and may you rise even further. Kudos

Betty K (304)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 6:27 am
Good for the team and good luck in the games!

Past Member (0)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 6:34 am
Bravo to the players+coaching staff! It's a wonderful diversion from their painful lives+the injustices against them. wish the team well. Thx Betsy

Alexandra G (250)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 6:35 am
Good luck in the games !!!

Heidi W (162)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 7:15 am
Noted. good Luck

Jeannet Bertelink (74)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 8:23 am

Gene Jacobson (290)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 10:43 am
"We are seeing right now in Brazil the ways in which the glories of soccer are being used as a cover to displace people from their homes and crush popular resistance."

Mixed feelings about this. Good news for the Palestinian people, yes. But I detest professional sports for the reason above. We do the same here, use funds that should be used to take care of those among us who can't do so for themselves to build new playpens for billionaires to have their millionaires play in while only the wealthiest among us can afford the tickets. The entire spectacle turns my stomach. That the world does the same thing with soccer - along with attendant riots and miscellaneous mayhem - does not make it "right". If one's hopes, aspirations and dreams are attendant on the outcome of men playing children's games, then this sorry world, will be sorry a lot longer than it need be. If a nation's pride and self-image depend on their sports teams and not the character of their people, then this world will remain at war forever. These events are pseudo-wars now, I don't like the idea of encouraging them in any way. And I truly abhor what is happening in Brazil, rubber bullets or not. The same plays out all over the world, every day. We just have to have an outlet for that bloodlust which still consumes the reptilian brain which still controls so much of human interaction. We are so far from civilization you can't even see it from here. And it is not going to get better this summer regardless who wins the world Cup.

Fiona Ogilvie (565)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 11:02 am
What you say, Gene, is so completely true. Still in a world, where the reptilian brain makes too many decisions and responds to jingoism and nationalism (to me just more ism's that keep peace out of the reach of humanity), I am glad to see a people as downtrodden and in many ways "unknown" as the Palestinians by most of the world, get some positive exposure on the world stage.

What heartless Brazil is doing with its current exposure on the world stage is obscene economic discrimination, which is one of the most vicious forms of discrimination. What is Brazil telling the 400,000 plus of its people who they have made homeless to prepare living quarters for the visiting "elite"?

Anette S (22)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 11:22 am

Mandi T (367)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 11:45 am
Good luck, nice story.

PlsNoMessage se (588)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 1:20 pm

Michela M (3964)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 1:59 pm
Good Luck!!!!!!!! noted

Steven G (25)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 2:31 pm
To tell the truth, I care more for truth, rights and freedom more than I do soccer. Israel? The State of Israel, directly and indirectly, is criminally responsible for committing specific acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing, including uprooting Palestinians by military attacks, arbitrary arrests and illegal imprisonment, administrative detention, attacks on women, children and the elderly, systematic and wanton destruction of property and homes and systematic expropriation and dispossession of their properties. Like apartheid South Africa, this could be the demise of an Israeli Zionist state as the world wakes up to their atrocities.

Menachem Begin, when asked if he considered himself the father of terrorism said: "No, in the entire whole world."

Robert O (12)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 5:54 pm
Congrats to them! I wish them the best of luck and success. Palestine deserves something to be happy and hopeful about.

S J (130)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 7:36 pm
congratulation and good luck for them. If they face some difficulty i.e. finance or whatever, shall we here help them? I would like to. Thanks betsy

fly bird (26)
Tuesday June 3, 2014, 8:38 pm
Go Palestine!!!!!!!!!!

Wolfgang W (235)
Wednesday June 4, 2014, 12:17 am
The USA and Western European countries ( incl. mine ) boycotted the Moscow Olympics 1980, in return Russia and Eastern European countries boycotted Los Angeles 1984. By now the world should have learned that boycotting leads nowhere, it's a simple expression of not taking part. It's a fact that the USA soccer team takes part in the World Cup 2014 Brasil, too - they were the first to arrive there, by the way - and it's a pity thy're backed backed up so little by their own countrymen! Congrats tom the Palestinian team - I hope to see more of them in the future.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 4, 2014, 1:50 am

Arild Gone for now (174)
Wednesday June 4, 2014, 2:58 am
Thanks Betsy.

John Holton (344)
Wednesday June 4, 2014, 3:34 am

Abo r (107)
Friday June 6, 2014, 9:22 am
Noted , thanks Betsy for postig and Jess b for forwarding . Above all restrictions , occupation and lack of everything Palestinians proved they are able to cope , overcome and succeed, and win.
Palestinians are capable , intellegent and can do with nothing, Love life , love others and wants to be loved .

Charlene Rush (79)
Friday June 6, 2014, 12:37 pm
Sports should represent the country of the players, and the players should represent the citizens of that country.
Hopefully, if nothing else, the condition of the people, positive or negative, will be brought into fruition.

Fiona Ogilvie (565)
Friday June 6, 2014, 11:52 pm
Wolfgang and anyone supporting or planning to attend the Brazilian 2014 World Cup, forget the word boycott and the distant past.

Many people, including the young Brazilian woman in the video on my profile page are not going to the World Cup for the reasons the young woman explains so carefully on the video. This world cup costs three times more than the last three world cups together. Brazil is a nation in extreme poverty. Brazil, the country, will have no return on the billions squandered to build these stadiums and the infrastructure involved. In Brazil now, 13 million are in danger of starvation. Hospital rooms meant for one patient must accommodate 12 or 13 patients. Brazil ranks 85 in the world in education. There have been over 2,000 violent evictions of Brazil's poor in vicious middle of the night raids by heavily armed military, where the military abused all family members including young children.

This is not simply demonstrations for better living conditions.

People decide on priorities and decide that human life and the quality of life for many Brazilians are more important than attending this sports mega event.

Kay M (46)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 10:53 pm
Thank you Betsy for this article and congrats to the team from PALESTINE --- BRAVO BOYS---

Fiona Ogilvie (565)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 11:19 pm
Thank you, Abo, my Palestinian friend, for your statement. From me and the many who wished good luck to your national team, Palestinians are loved.

Abo r (107)
Sunday June 8, 2014, 10:37 am
Sure my friend Betsy B , palestinians are loved , beloved and .loved they love to build friendships which a way to relation ships and its the key for peace which will not be without love
Pure Love and Relations which is based on friendships is the only key for peace and safety
If we look at our hearts shape , anatomical structure we will find love within each part thats why all the body organs are survived as its supplied with all the needs for survival ( blood. o2 , Nutrients .enzymes , hormones ... etc.) and origionally hate has no place in the heart unless if the person plant it .
We must treat others in the way we want them to treat us with.
We are created to love as we are loved ... ALLAH is MAHABA AND ALSALAM ( love and peace).

Jose Ovidio Perez Morel (50)
Sunday June 22, 2014, 10:49 am

Neill Abayon (667)
Sunday June 29, 2014, 4:52 pm
Congratulations to them! thanks for sharing Betsy.
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