Doha, Qatar – Whereas soccer players and fans all over the world are being reprimanded for displays of solidarity with Palestine, 1000’s gathered on the Training Metropolis Stadium in Qatar to point out their help and assist increase cash for Palestinians going through the wrath of Israel’s war on Gaza.
Because the solar set on a windy Friday night on the former Qatar World Cup 2022 venue on the outskirts of the capital, Doha, followers wearing Palestinian colors and waving the Palestinian flag flocked to the venue in excessive spirits.
The Stand with Palestine charity match was organized by the Qatar Basis. It was primarily based on an initiative by a gaggle of scholars hoping to boost cash via ticket gross sales and create consciousness in regards to the scenario in Gaza, the place practically 19,000 folks, together with greater than 7,000 kids, have been killed within the Israeli bombardment since October 7.
Karim Abbas, one of many Palestinian college students concerned in organising the occasion, mentioned the match was being performed “for the youngsters of Palestine”.
“As a Palestinian myself, it’s very onerous to see these movies [from Gaza] however then I think about the folks dwelling via the oppression and I realise it’s way more tough to endure,” a visibly emotional Abbas informed Al Jazeera.
The collaborating groups comprised college students from two Qatar-based faculties and worldwide footballers, together with former Spanish World Cup winner Javi Martinez, Morocco worldwide Soufiane Boufal and a number of other Qatar nationwide crew gamers. One crew represented Qatar, the opposite Palestine.
‘Now we have not forgotten’
Regardless of the presence of world and regional stars, followers contained in the 40,000-capacity stadium remained targeted on their most important job for the night time – waving the Palestinian flag and elevating their voices for the folks of Gaza.
“We’re right here to inform the folks of Gaza that now we have not forgotten them,” Abdellah Abdul Razzaq, a Qatar-based Canadian, mentioned forward of the match.
“In 2023, there’s no place for genocide.”
Within the build-up to the match, star footballers walked on to the pitch and interacted with followers by giving autographs and posing for images.
Because the gamers went again to their dressing rooms and the followers waited for the match to get underneath manner, a well-recognized tune blared from the PA system and the group immediately jumped to its toes.
The favored Palestinian music “Dammi Falasteeni” (my blood is Palestinian) rang across the compact stadium and followers of all ages, financial backgrounds and nationalities sang and danced alongside.
For the Palestinians current within the stands, the group’s loud rendition of the music’s refrain introduced a gush of feelings.
“To see all these folks, whether or not they’re Palestinian or not, supporting the reason for Palestine makes me very completely happy,” Abdel Wahab al-Masri, a Palestinian primarily based in Doha, informed Al Jazeera.
“If folks in Gaza have been capable of see this help, it will give them energy and better energy to withstand the occupation,” he added.
Al-Masri and his 5 compatriots held up a big Palestinian flag as he defined how the folks of his nation discover the braveness to withstand Israel’s occupation of their land.
“The braveness and resistance you see is one thing all Palestinians develop up with,” he mentioned, referring to social movies of Palestinian kids vowing to stay steadfast within the face of adversity.
“The psychological toughness to know that it [Gaza] is their land and, as soon as the battle ends, they must reclaim it’s a part of their upbringing,” al-Masri mentioned, because the music stored enjoying on loop.
‘An unprecedented battle’
Feelings have been operating excessive for everybody within the crowd, and never simply the Palestinians.
For Chique Leo, from the Philippines, it was a matter of displaying the “disgusting” world leaders that Palestinians aren’t alone.
“It breaks my coronary heart to see civilians dying of their a whole lot each day – mother and father dropping their daughters and sons, kids dropping their mother and father however they [world leaders] don’t care as a result of they’re busy having fun with their comfy existence,” the 55-year-old mentioned as her voice trembled with anger.
“That is an unprecedented battle and the best way the world is letting this proceed and dehumanising Palestinians is insufferable.”
As kickoff approached, the variety of folks within the stands grew and so did the fundraising figures. In keeping with the organisers, 20 million Qatari riyals ($5.5m) had been raised by the tip of the match.
Mild-hearted, on-field motion was no match for the charged crowd, which stored “Palestine!” of their chants all through the match.
Drum beats have been adopted by roars of “Falasteen”, Mexican waves become Palestinian waves as 1000’s of flags have been raised in unison.
The match resulted in a 4-3 (penalty shoot-out) win for Palestine, nevertheless it was onerous to inform which crew represented the house crowd, as gamers from each side got here collectively to wave the purple, white, black and inexperienced flag another time.