Doha, Qatar – The massive Palestinian group in Doha knew that having the globe’s consideration on Qatar throughout the World Cup, the world’s greatest sporting occasion, was a chance, and one they don’t get fairly often.
“The World Cup has given us a platform to make our voice heard,” Bader, a Palestinian based mostly in Qatar, advised Al Jazeera throughout an evening of festivities in Lusail, house to Qatar’s greatest stadium, which can host the World Cup ultimate.
Most Palestinians had been out to make their presence felt, not simply with the flags, however with their apparel as effectively.
Bader wore a T-shirt with a map of Palestine and “Free Palestine” emblazoned on it, and had a Palestinian keffiyeh (scarf) and flag wrapped round his neck.
“Individuals from everywhere in the world are right here in Qatar and after they see us dressed like this they arrive as much as us and ask the place we’re from, since Palestine just isn’t collaborating within the World Cup,” stated Bader.
“It provides us an opportunity to acquaint them with the scenario in our homeland, present them our tradition and narrate our historical past.
They learn about Israel however not about Palestine. There was no Israel till it occupied Palestine.”
Close by, a bunch of women and men gathered in a circle and a loud cheer went up as music started enjoying from a speaker. Because the lyrics rang out, they started singing and dancing alongside to a preferred Palestinian track referred to as Dammi Falastini (My Blood is Palestinian).
Bader explains that the track tells the story of Palestine.
“The lyrics are heart-wrenching and unhappy, however as a result of the Israeli occupation and our incapability to be in our homeland is part of our lives, we have fun our identification by singing and dancing alongside to such songs.”
Bader, who was barely audible over the loud singing and cheering, identified a number of Moroccan, Tunisian, Egyptian and Qatari flags amongst the gang.
“They don’t seem to be Palestinian however after they hear this track or spot our flag, they’re pulled in the direction of it, as being Muslims they assist our trigger and really feel our ache,” he defined earlier than happening to hitch the group.
— #Africa4Palestine (@Africa4Pal) November 22, 2022
The Palestinian assist has not simply been restricted to singing and dancing.
Social media posts present followers who, upon realising that they’re being interviewed by Israeli media, have walked away from reporters. In the meantime, others have seized the chance and shouted “viva Palestine!” into their microphones.
For the primary time, direct flights between Tel Aviv and Doha have introduced followers to the World Cup, regardless of the dearth of official ties between Israel and Qatar.
“Placing our identification on the market when the entire world is watching helps our trigger,” stated Asma Jaber, a Palestinian who has travelled to Qatar from america for the event.
Jaber, too, had a keffiyeh draped throughout her shoulders and a small Palestinian flag in her palms.
“To have the ability to present our identification overtly and with pleasure is a novel feeling for Palestinians,” Jaber stated, as she defined that she carried a Palestinian flag wherever she went, regardless of there not being many locations on the planet she feels comfy waving it.
Her son Safwan had a big Palestinian flag tied round his neck. He held it up over his head and stated, “that is my cape. It makes me really feel like superman”.
Jaber grew up in a Jordanian refugee camp till she completed highschool, after which moved to the US.
“My grandparents moved to Jordan in 1948, following the Nakba [catastrophe],” she stated, referring to the compelled expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 upon the creation of Israel.
Like tens of millions of different Palestinian refugees, Jaber has by no means been to Palestine.
She regarded round her as she stood in the course of Lusail Boulevard, a large street that runs from Lusail Stadium to the city centre. It has been pedestrianised and adorned with flags from collaborating nations.
“I can’t put into phrases how I really feel once I see my flag being raised by so many people who find themselves not from Palestine,” Jaber stated.
She took a second to carry again her feelings and stated, “It’s as if all these folks from world wide are saying, ‘We love you, we all know you exist, and we’re by your facet.’”
“Palestinians typically really feel that they’re dealing with the strongest powers on the planet and combating for his or her trigger all on their very own.
However seeing this assist makes us really feel stronger.”