[News] ‘In My Heart, I am a Palestinian‘: Palestine Mourns Legendary Footballer Diego Armando Maradona

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Nov 26 11:58:50 EST 2020


https://www.palestinechronicle.com/in-my-heart-i-am-a-palestinian-palestine-mourns-legendary-footballer-diego-armando-maradona/
‘In
My Heart, I am a Palestinian‘: Palestine Mourns Legendary Footballer Diego
Armando Maradona
November 25, 2020
------------------------------
Argentinian Football Legend Diego Armando Maradona raises Palestinian flag.
(Photo: File)

*By Palestine Chronicle Staff
<https://www.palestinechronicle.com/writers/palestine-chronicle-staff>*

The 20th century’s greatest footballer, Diego Armando Maradona, died in San
Andrés, Argentina, at the age of 60. The Argentine Football Association
reported that the cause of death was cardiac arrest.

Maradona has been struggling with various health crises in recent years,
the most recent of which was earlier this month when he reportedly suffered
from a brain hemorrhage.

Maradona’s fans around the world expressed their shock and deep sadness for
his passing. Palestinians were not an exception. However, for Palestinian
football fans, Maradona represented more than a mere player, arguably the
best in the world. He was something else entirely.

“In Palestine, you cannot hate Maradona. Your only option is to love him
and you couldn’t have any negative opinion about him,” Palestinian
journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle Ramzy Baroud said.
“Maradona inspired something in us as a collective – a man of small built,
from a terribly poor background, brown like us, fiery like us and
passionate like us, making his way to the top of the world. For us, it was
not about football or sports. It was about hope. It felt as if anything was
possible.”

“You can only imagine our excitement when we learned that Maradona cared
for Palestine, and made many gestures in support of our struggle. Our joy
was complete. Indeed, until the very end, he took moral stances for
Palestine, affirming, once more, in July 2018 that ‘In my heart, I am a
Palestinian,” Baroud added.

The statement of solidarity was communicated then to Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas. However, this was not the only instance in which
Maradona was vocal in his support of the Palestinian cause.

For example, in 2012, Maradona described himself as “the number one fan of
the Palestinian people .. I respect them and sympathize with them.”

During the Israeli war on Gaza in the summer of 2014, Maradona expressed
his outrage. “What Israel is doing to the Palestinians is shameful,” he
said in a statement.

Also, in that same year, media reports spoke of negotiations between the
Palestinian Football Association and the Argentinian football legend, who
was rumored to be the next coach of the Palestinian national team during
the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.

“Growing up in Gaza, we loved Maradona. In fact, personally, I loved and
played football because of him. Whenever he played, whether for Argentina,
Napoli or other teams, we would drop everything and gather in front of our
small black and white television set to watch him play,” Baroud said.

*“*In Palestine, we share the struggles of all oppressed, working-class
people everywhere, and, in turn, we say ‘In our collective Palestinian
heart, we are Argentinians; we Are South Americans,” Baroud added.

“Thank you, Maradona. You will forever represent something beautiful in all
of us.”

*(The Palestine Chronicle)*
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