Monday, 13 April 2009

Barcelona popular in Palestinian territories

author: Sharab Moayad
El Periodico
date: 19 March 2009

If you go to any Arabian country in the would, you will see many children with Barca shirts in the streets. The streets of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt... and in the recently bombed territory of Gaza, in Palestine, my country.

Where did it all start? When did this romance between Barca and the Arabian world start? The boom that turned Barca into the most supported European football club in the Arabian countries happened thanks to Ronald Koeman and his famous goal that won Barca their first Champions League in history at Wembley in 1992. Since that day - the many Arab culés agree - the passion and love with the blaugrana jersey has kept on growing significantly. And it still hasn't stopped.

Football is passion, passion that is fueled by the Spanish league and goes overboard with Barca. Their players are stars; more than stars actually, they're heroes and thanks to satellite television, their feats and goals are quite thrilling. But, in my country, Barca gives a special passion. In Palestine, with the spectacular history of the club and the guaranteed showcase on the pitch there must be a certain identification with the club that represents the Catalan people of the world.

In my country, Barca has a special trait, a feeling shared the same thousands of miles away. The Palestinian people identify themselves with the club because they feel a reflection with the Catalan people, in their feelings, and in their way of living. The Catalans, like their Palestinian brothers, try hard to protect their identity.

This fascination with Barcelona in Palestine grows every time that a flag from my country can be seen at the Camp Nou or when "Free Palestina" is yelled, like when it happened recently in the Palau Blaugrana, in the Euroleague of basketball in a game against Maccabi Tel-Aviv. Unlike other Arabian places, a Palestinian citizen thinks that belonging to Barca means to fight against injustice - maybe the Unicef logo on the jerseys helps.

And that's why the people gather in restaurants and cafes to watch Xavi, Messi, Eto'o, Henry, and friends play on weekends and in European competition. Barca then becomes an infallible way of forgetting, at least for 90 minutes, about the war that happens in this part of the world for 60 years and repeats itself every day with sieges, bombings and checkpoints.

Much further than Palestine, in all Arabian zones, the support for Barca becomes greater and every day you can see actual gatherings at the Catalan capital from many different countries to see a Barca match at the Camp Nou live. But, at the same time, these supporters feel excluded because of the direction of the club, due to them believing that it's not enough for the team to visit one of our countries to play a match. They want more.

translated by al

Read more:
Sponsorship deal with Arab telecom company
Barcelona president visits India
Possible Milan-Barça to help earthquake victims


Jorgito_el_Griego said...

Visca Barca & Free Palestina !!!!
Nice article brother from a country that has suffered a lot and is still suffering... FREEDOM TO PALESTINE !!!

Dan R said...

i don't want to go into political debates, but i wish Catalans and Palestines tought the same... maybe then we could have peace.
I'm Israeli btw.

kamikaze kontiki said...

Nice article. Great choice Pep and thanks Al for the translation.

barca4life said...

Football is a medium that brings all together. It does not matter if you are Israeli or Palestinian. Perhaps if the people from these two contries take some time and look at what they have in common as opposed to their differences, we may one day have peace in the middle east. They may be surprised to find that both Israelis and Palestinians love Barca and celebrate the same way when a goal is scored.

eddiethegreat said...

you said it nicely, barca4life! by any chance, didnt you comment on the victor valdes article on yesterday (saying that no goalkeeper can be great at barca)? :)

barca4life said...

no eddie there is another barca4life on If you followed i used to comment there under the nick barca4life as well

FCBarca said...

Great read but where are the Messi jerseys???

Visca Barca & Free Palelstine!

messiiiiiiiiii said...

mes que un club

Harshawardhan said...

nice.. i feel proud to be a blaugrana!

KAYR said...

i'm palestinian. i live in belgium.
i pray 5 times a day and the 2 most things that i pray for is that
palestinian people will once again have their country and that barca wins the treble SO FREE PALESTINE and VISCA EL BARCA.i wish that palestinian and israeli people see that we are all the same and reach any agreement as long as there will be PEACE.PEACE is a word i dream about everyday with the hope that my dream will be realised one day INCHALLAH.

kamikaze kontiki said...

Amen to that KAYR.

Barca84av said...

mes que un club

i cant describe how much i love fcbarca.. this club is my whole life

Anonymous said...

inshallah kayr. i hate it when innocent ppl r killed. everyone deserves to get peace, i really pray n hope tht Palestine wud get freedom n have peace. n barca really r more than a club. n btw awesome article, hats off.

barcaaaaa said...

Good one :D

Dimmu said...

How can "Palestinians" feel themselves close to Catalans? Catalans are old nation and "nationality"... Palestinians are made up nationality that was created in 1948.. There were no Arab Palestinians before that...

ej said...


because of people like you there are wars like the one now or at 1941.

i know where you come from

u can say there is no palastinians when we all know that there are millions who are waiting to there Country.

ilias said...

I'm in Morocco on a holiday right now, anyone wants a 10Euro knock-off jersey? :)

In Morocco you're either for Barca or Madrid. Last week durig the CL-match the café's were packed and the ambience was crazy.

Too bad I won't be here during classico.
Last classico before the match they showed some footage of people in Morocco gathering on the streets hitting drums , dancing and cheering. I laughed my ass off.

The kid that ran on the field and kneeled at the feet of Ronaldinho (one upon a classico) was also Moroccan as was the kid that did it the year before that if I recall well.

Btw both Barca and Madrid have sport academies in Morocco.

ilias said...

It goes far..

Subhashis said...

@ Dimmu.. sick I felt after reading your post..and I am really amazed at your un-education.

Palestine , that region, is the oldest civilized space in human civilization history. All the three major faiths, isalm, christianity, and Jewish, started from Palestine. Go read some history.I am not from Palestine, never been there, but we all atleast can share their pain.


Its so nice to see the post, and see the support our beloved club gets there...thanks for drawing the picture very nicely

M10 said...

im half palestinian, and in there ur either for barca or madrid, the middle east would rather watch la liga than the EPL, i went there for 6 months and thats how i got into barca and football, we'd play football everyday and i got my own ronaldinho barca shirt from there, i also bought a copy of fifa 07 and we played el classico almost everyday!! i went there just as football player and fan, but came back as a hardcore cule and mad football fan that knows the game inside out

and about the whole comparision of catalonia/palestine, its because catalonia expresses themselves as a different country and not under spain, just like palestine and israel, FREE PALESTINE and i wish for peace between the two and in the middle east

Arby_Barca said...

Am an Afro-Arab of Yemen origin. You should see how also Yemeniz like Barcaleona. Once i printed out the wall paper of the Barca current team and we hang it @ the club with different teams supporters, RM supporters were very furious with it and we ended up playing PS2, Barca V RM, we beat them 8-4 on a home and away match !!!!!!

Dimmu said...

First of all.. I just state pure facts.. There was never an independent country called Palestine never.. Even in 1948 when Brits divided their mandate the Arab nations rejected the proposal..

2nd.. Islamic ties to Jerusalem are more or less made up.. Read the Koran, it never states or names Jerusalem. There is only a story about how Muhhamed visits a "far away" Mosque on hes horse.. It does not name Jerusalem. Jerusalem was chosen as a holy city for Islam only because that is the furthest west the Islam have spread at that point.

Before the 1948 everyone who lived in the area were called Palestinians, that included Arabs, Jews and Christians.. Only after the 1948 the Arabs that lived there suddenly became "Palestinians".. And today they are used as a leverage to preassure Israel..

I just give you all a known quote by a PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein in a 1977.. You can all search that quote.. its not fabricated
""The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a
Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle
against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality
today there is no difference between Jordanians,
Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and
tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of
a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand
that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian
people' to oppose Zionism.

"For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state
with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa.
While as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa,
Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we
reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even
a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan."

Anonymous said...


I am sue i can find some jews who say there is no Israel ans Israelis .

there is only Jews who was send to buid a country.

Hitler was the reason why there Israe today this is Fact !!!

and the Jew befoe they went to israe they was planng to move to argentina or Africa but Hertsel desided to go to palastine after the jew othodox build a circle .!!!

this are facts !!!!!!!!!

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