Politics of Ostriches

The Palestinian society has been overwhelmingly busy with the FIFA new false start that ended with an offside penalty that the audience (us) had to pay. As usual.

Well, after all, talking FIFA gives us more credibility in analysis and claiming to understand than talking Un or UNSC or ICC. After all we Palestinians love football. We encourage football. Of course not Palestinian football in particular, but we are evenly divided between Real Madrid and Barcelona mainly, and other English or European leagues. We are really up to it. Like the rest of football fans. So when the head of the Palestinian Football Association, General Jibreel Rjoub decided to finally put an end to the Israeli continued violations and crimes against Palestinian sport that included the killing of some players last year in Gaza, the imprisonment of some players in the west bank, and the unbearable and unnecessary restrictions and obstructions to players movements that included delay and retardation in airport and so on. Not to mention what has been seemingly troubling the general a lot is the obstruction and delay in receiving T-shirts, shorts and sports shoes that cost the Palestinians ten times its cost which was of course originally a generous grant from some side of the great generous white hands. It was a real important happening in the Palestinian arena, to finally try to score on one side of the different international stages, in which Rjoub has successfully managed to make it visible and moved fast and strongly in the sports wheel.

I could have of course my personal observations on how effective what has been done in the sports festivity in the last decade, but I prefer to keep this away from this discussion. I do admit that my expectations of sports are far more than what Palestinians can ever imagine. I am putting this with a heavy heart, but as in many of the things we Palestinians achieve, we tend to focus on what we gain as a result of this conflict not as a result of a real achievement of a certain challenge.

As a mother of a previous swimmer, who swam both in Israeli and Palestinian championships and experienced the difference in training, I can only say, that the difference between the two levels is the distance between earth and sky.

Well. This is not our issue as well…

With all our limitations and still ages of work that should be invested sincerely and genuinely in all and every level and aspect in sports in this case, we do suffer mostly from Israeli obstructions that successfully mounted to violations that are inciting and criminal, and in which Rjub successfully managed to put together in a form of a file that he decided to submit infront of the FIFA last congress.

Almost six months and more of mobilization for this file that will ask for the suspension of Israel from the FIFA has been on the top files of the football federation in a popular mobilization that looked similar to that was set up during the UNSC application for the recognition of the state. Well, it is not a strange thing to happen, since Jibril Rjub is not just the head of the football federation and the Olympic committee. He is also one of the most influential men in the Fateh executive commission, not to mention his important status as a former preventive security figure. So it wasn’t a surprise that his way of mobilizing for the application looked very similar to what we Palestinians are used to in popular mobilization. I personally found it interesting and smart, the red card slogan of the campaign.

When the promised day finally came, the Palestinian people found themselves sitting infront of their TV screens with the koufiyyeh and the Red Card in their hands waiting for the historical moment to come.

Of course most of us didn’t really understand what was that historical moment about more than the red card, which usually means expulsion from football matches. But who really needed to know any details. What we wanted to see was that moment when the Palestinian people represented by the Palestinian football association courageously ask for the Red card raising against the Israelis. The speech was fiery and as stormy as Rjoub. A smart man I thought. This will be the best score he did so far I murmured to myself as I was watching him giving the speech infront of the FIFA congress amid the unbelievable incidents that preceded that conference, that included the corruption accusations against the FIFA president Blatter. Pro Palestinian group was gathering on the sides of the street leading to the congress in Genève, all having the red card slogan in hands.

And as the world was watching, and suspense was rising and reaching its peak, and as in football matches while the goal net was absolutely empty waiting for the Palestinian goal to be achieved. A red flag was aroused on the horizons of our heads when Rjub arrogantly said that he decided to withdraw his appeal. And yet, as if he was in a certain state of total denial of his surrounding, insisted on taking out the red card he has been safe guarding in his pocket since the genius idea of the red card campaign started. He took out that card in what seemed a motion picture. As in football games when the referee is determined to take out the red card for an offence that is irreversible and realizes later that what the cameras took was more accurate than what his own eyes has grasped.

So was that red card he took out. Meaningless… embarrassing and unintelligent …

Well one should have heard him better…. He took it out as a symbol for discrimination not suspension that he has been knocking our heads on in the last months …

The shock was irreparable, tremendous, and seriously beyond belief.

It is not that we the people have big expectations in Rjub as a man of the leadership, or in the justice that the FIFA will bring us. We knew well that the appeal may not be passed, and it was more likely it won’t. We already went through the last UNSC appeal to the state, so we know that the world will not accept our pledge with open arms and suspend the spoilt child Israel.

The shock was mainly in the fact that there was this turnover in his attitude… the man started as a liberator in what looked like a life or death war, and with not a single indication decided to withdraw. And yet insisted on raising the red card.

One would say. Pressure was put, and I am sure it was. But I am also sure he knew it was happening. So why this speech with such high expectations. Why take us all with you to a battle armored with heavy load armory of nothing in such heated weather? We would have still understood. We would have been disappointed. But not from him. From the world that insists to continue the injustice on the Palestinians including sports.

If someone likes me sitting in the luxury of her own house was shocked… I was imagining those poor pro Palestinian people outside the building waiting for the moment of truth …

The game of politics remains as it is well known on politics as the arts of the possible… but what happened was beyond any art. It was one embarrassing announcement that contradicted its latter announcement after the other. And if announcements were not enough to prove the contradiction of what took place the behavior was more than enough to say it all.

And if the withdrawal from the appeal wasn’t enough … the scandal in the voting or not voting to prince Ali was the final straw….

Between declaring that the Palestinian vote would go to Ali, and between being chosen among all other FIFA members, Blatter decides only to exclusively choose Rjub to thank upon his victory. A remark that would only bring to mind those people who thank their wives, their head of campaigns and supporters … a blow that was given directly in Rjub’s credibility that he also seemingly didn’t notice… because what came next was worse… him holding an Arabian sword, that first the news outlets were saying it was the gift of the Arabs to Blatter for his victory, and they asked Jibreel to hand in. or whether as declared from his office later that this sword was a gift given to him personally with a thank you letter from the prince of Saudi Arabia to thank him for the great achievement he accomplished in having a committee formed for inspection ,and for voting for prince Ali … now we really don’t know , why would Saudi Arabia who apparently was with the Arabs alliance that voted to Blatter . And what was the achievement again…. Didn’t anyone tell them that the offside doesn’t count? It wasn’t even an offside. The man used his hands and hugged the ball and insisted not to throw it at all!!!!

Lets say. All what happened was just a series of the typical historical Palestinian bad luck, or this amazing talent Palestinians usually have in shooting on their own feet….

Regardless to what appeared to be a shameful behavior towards an Arab brother prince. Who officially counted on Arab votes that disappointed him and stabbed him with the Arab sword they bought directly in the FIFA. Well. For a Palestinian this is of course no news. It is sad that the young prince had to see it for himself, and be part of the Arab conspiracies. But how we Palestinians manage to carry on the bomb. The explosion of the situation is amazing. It is like shooting goals in an empty net after the game was over… well… it is worse actually. It is like pouring gasoline on the defeated team coach and then lighting a cigarette for him…

Whether Rjub voted or not to the prince. It became irrelevant. The situation became so bad … the poor prince had to come out with statements to clear responsibility form Rjub. Because the anger the Jordanians had as a result could have only contributed to more difficulties on the Palestinians. Which they really cannot afford. . Jordan becoming angry on us now, is like Egypt’s anger on Gaza… and we really cannot build tunnels to move out or through in this case…

Well… let us say it is all over and we need to learn for the future from this … but we of course won’t … future??? Who needs a future? We are a nation of leaders and masterminds… we never make mistakes. It is just that the public is always too stupid to understand what politicians really think and aspire…

And as in every Palestinian disastrous failure… instead of addressing real issues. Core of the problems … we just jump into blind justifications like ostriches. Heads down while asses fully exposed …


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