Though the final match in the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup brought Algeria and Tunisia together, it seems that Palestine was the dominant common denominator throughout the game. Algeria won 2-0 in an exciting finale, but Palestinians everywhere also felt that they emerged winners.
Palestinian flags were held by fans of both national teams, who filled Al-Bayt Stadium in the Qatari city of Al Khor. At times, both crowds were chanting for Palestine.
The spirit of solidarity with Palestine was also felt in other aspects of the match. Several Algerian players lined up to receive their winning trophy after the end of the exciting match while wearing Palestinian flags around their shoulders or wrapped around their waists. Moreover, the Algerian team manager congratulated the Algerian people for the victory, then also congratulated the Palestinian people and the people of Gaza especially.
“It was a difficult match to watch,” Palestinian journalist and editor of the Palestine Chronicle Ramzy Baroud said, “because Palestinians love both countries equally.”
“It is a very strange experience as a fan of Arab football to be cheering for both teams at the same time. But how can you not do that while Algerian and Tunisian fans are raising Palestinian flags and cheering for Palestine at the same time?”, Baroud asked.
The symbolism goes even further as the official FIFA Arab Cup trophy was adorned with the famous Palestinian poem, by Palestinian national poet Ibrahim Tuqan, Mawtini – My Homeland. The Palestinian verses were carved in golden letters. Even the logo of the cup is adorned with the colors of the Palestinian kuffiyeh.
— The Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) December 15, 2021
Like other media analysts, Baroud understood the emphasis on Palestinian solidarity throughout the tournament, which was also exhibited by the fans of other teams, including Morocco and Jordan, to be a rejection of normalization with Israel.
“The Arab people have made it very clear throughout the years that they reject any normalization with Apartheid Israel,” Baroud said. “The FIFA Arab Cup served as a platform for the Arabs to display their love of Palestine like never before.”
“While the spirit of Arab brotherhood has emerged as a winner at the end of this incredible event, it was Palestine that has truly claimed the glory at the very end,” Baroud added.
(The Palestine Chronicle)