Israel strikes Gaza after rocket fired from enclave

Israel strikes Gaza after rocket fired from enclave


Football World Cup matches in Qatar finds Arab diaspora in Latin American torn by split loyalties

SAO PAULO: The World Cup is a big deal in Latin America, with cities across Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and elsewhere brought to a standstill whenever their respective national teams are on the pitch. But for one segment of society in particular, the 2022 tournament hosted by Qatar is particularly significant.

Arab Latin Americans are thought to number about 23 million people. There are large communities in Brazil and Argentina, and significant populations in Mexico, Chile, Venezuela and Colombia, made up of descendants of Arab emigrants who came over from the Middle East and North Africa, voluntarily or as refugees. And, like everybody else in these countries, Arabs love football.

The fact the 2022 World Cup is taking place in an Arab country for the first time provides an even greater incentive for the Arab diaspora in Latin America to tune in from distant time zones. The only question is whether to support the Arab side that reflects their ethnic origins, or the teams of their adopted countries.

Qatar’s hosting of the competition “certainly generates sympathy among Arab communities; people have been waiting for that World Cup for a long time,” Agustin Dib, director of the Arab Culture Club in Buenos Aires, told Arab News.

According to him, however, most Arab Latin Americans tend to root for the team that represents their adopted home.

“In Argentina, the first Lebanese and Syrian immigrants began to arrive at the end of the 19th century,” said Dib. “The same happened in Brazil. So, we are fully Argentinian, Brazilian, and so on — and love our national teams.”

At the same time, though, Arab Latin Americans watch with pride national squads from the Arab world and eagerly follow the fortunes of the likes of Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Qatar. The Saudi team’s historic 2-1 victory against Argentina in their opening match in Qatar no doubt captured the imagination of many.

There are large Arab communities in the border zones between Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. In these areas, a World Cup campaign can temporarily divide Arab groups.

Saleh Al-Shehri celebrates with Saudi Arabia’s forward #09 Firas Al-Buraikan after scoring his team’s first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium. (AFP)

This is certainly the case in the bisected Brazilian city of Chui and its Uruguayan counterpart, Chuy, where several thousand Palestinians have settled. Most of the time, this community pays little heed to the geographical boundary separating them. But a World Cup can change this.

“In general, we cheer for both Uruguay and Brazil,” Jaber Nassar, a 43-year-old shop owner who lives on the Brazilian side of the city, told Arab News. “But if there is a match between both teams, each side will root for its national squad.”

The rest of the time, though, there has traditionally been a historic bond between both communities when it comes to football. In 1987, they founded the Central Palestino Futbol Club. Active for a little more than a decade before folding as a result of lack of funds, Central Palestino was part of the Uruguayan league and made waves in the 1990s when it reached the finals of a national championship.

“I used to see many matches with my mother when I was a boy. Central Palestino was a local champion and we would travel throughout Uruguay to see them play,” said Nassar, whose brother-in-law was part of the squad for several years.

The Palestinian community routinely turns out in force to watch as many matches as possible during a World Cup, said Nassar. A few of his friends even traveled to Qatar for the tournament.

“Of course, we will focus on the Arab teams,” he added.

Nassar said the Palestinians love of South American football is not only a byproduct of immigration. Even in Palestine, he said, many people cheer for Brazil during international tournaments.

FASTFACTS

* The Arab diaspora in Central and South America is thought to number about 23 million people.

* The biggest Arab communities are in Brazil and Argentina, followed by Mexico, Chile, Venezuela and Colombia.

According to Dib, this is common in many Arab nations and reflects a recognition of, and appreciation for, the prowess of top South American players.

“In countries like Syria and Lebanon, people love Argentinian and Brazilian football,” he said. “I lived for a few months in Tunisia and people would always ask me about Maradona and Messi.”

Zuka Khouri, who left Syria as a refugee and settled in the Brazilian city of Curitiba nine years ago, said her family cheers for the Brazilian national team during every World Cup.

“We also liked to see Italy play,” she told Arab News. “This year Italy is not in the competition so we are rooting for Brazil.”

Anas Obaid, a 34-year-old Syrian refugee, was captured and held hostage by an armed group in Syria until his family paid a ransom. After his release, he fled to Lebanon where he worked in a refugee camp in Zahle. He has lived in Brazil since 2015 and is now a journalist and human rights activist. He loves football and said he used to cheer for Argentina when he was a child.

“I was there during the 2014 World Cup, which took place in Brazil,” Obaid told Arab News. “I rooted for Germany, because the country was welcoming many Syrian refugees. But some in the camp rooted for Brazil.”

Since arriving in Sao Paulo, he said has become an ardent supporter of the Brazilian national team. “Brazilians have a passion for football and it is an honor to root for their squad,” he said.

Although football is unequivocally a national obsession in Brazil, and the World Cup a major event for the people there, the number of Brazilian fans who bought tickets for matches in Qatar, 39,546, is significantly lower than the numbers of Argentines (61,083) and Mexicans (91,173).

Mexico regularly sends a large contingent of fans to World Cups. Most Arab Mexicans are of Lebanese origin, according to Hector Chamlati, a member of the consulting board of Centro Libanes, a community association in Mexico City. The number of Lebanese Mexicans is estimated at about 500,000, most of whom are Christians.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino gives thumbs-up during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Brazil and Switzerland at Stadium 974 in Doha. (AFP)

“We have a very strong connection with the Mexican national team,” Chamlati told Arab News. “But it pleases many of us to see Arab teams play. I was glad to see that Tunisia managed to draw with Denmark (on Nov. 22).”

The grandson of Lebanese immigrants, he said the Mexican community feels an intense connection to Lebanon and if the country’s national team was competing in Qatar, many of them would certainly root for them.

“But I think it is special to see the potential success of any Arab squad,” he added.

Jose Alejandro Serio Haddad, a 25-year old Lebanese Mexican, traveled to Qatar with his friends to watch Mexico play. It was his first visit to an Arab country and proved to be something of a culture shock.

“I think Qatari and Lebanese culture are very different,” he told Arab News. “Besides, the number of Arabs here is not very high. Most of the time we meet with South Asians. We feel like foreigners all the time.”

Serio Haddad was not confident about the chances of any Arab teams progressing from the group phase to the final stages of the tournament “but we certainly feel more empathy with them than with Latin American teams, like Argentina, for instance.”

As for the fact that the World Cup is being hosted by a Muslim country for the first time, Obaid said that this was certainly noteworthy but he was unhappy with the amount of criticism that has been leveled against Qatar.

“I am concerned by the international community’s reaction,” he said. “It can be a way of fighting prejudices over Muslims and Arabs. But at the same time people are paying much more attention to Qatar’s social contradictions than they did when the (competition) happened in non-Muslim countries.”

Dib said he has been organizing talks to discuss the common distortions in the way Western countries perceive the World Cup in Qatar.

“Since the first World Cup, in Uruguay in 1930, there have been corruption scandals, for instance,” he said. “But the media now focuses almost exclusively on Qatar’s problems. It is a matter of prejudice.”

In any other context, Dib said, the global press would have talked about the construction marvels achieved by the hosting country “but given that it is an Arab nation, it only talks about the deaths that occurred during construction.”

He added: “I am not saying those problems are not important but the exclusive focus on them is a problem. It has to do with Orientalism as defined by Edward Said.”

In his 1978 book, “Orientalism,” Said established the term as a critical concept to describe the often contemptuous Western depiction of the East.

Dib said that many Arab Latin Americans are not comfortable with what many perceive as biased coverage of Qatar — which has been echoed in the Latin American media as well — because they feel that “there is an ongoing attack on Arab culture as a whole.”



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Fury stops Chisora to retain WBC heavyweight title

Fury stops Chisora to retain WBC heavyweight title


article author: 
AFP
Sun, 2022-12-04 01:23

LONDON: Tyson Fury retained his World Boxing Council heavyweight title with a decisive stoppage win over British rival Derek Chisora on Saturday.
Fury, still unbeaten as a professional, dominated from the start, and with Chisora’s eyes starting to close, referee Victor Loughlin stopped the fight shortly before the end of the 10th round at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The 34-year-old now boasts a record of 33 wins from 34 fights with one draw.

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Arab Cinema Center participates in Red Sea International Film Festival

Arab Cinema Center participates in Red Sea International Film Festival


File: Arab Cinema Center.


 


 


The Arab Cinema Center (ACC) is set to continue its tour in the international festival scene by participating in the second edition of Red Sea International Film Festival (RSIFF) along with 16 partners ranging from institutions, companies, and other film festivals. 

 


 


 


The ACC is located in pavilion 20 throughout the festival, which kicked off in Saudi Arabia on December 1 and will continue to December 10.


 


 


The ACC partners at the RSIFF in alphabetical order are:


 


The Arab Radio And Television Network – ART (Saudi Arabia), Cairo International Film Festival (Egypt), Cinema 70 (Saudi Arabia), Film Clinic (Egypt), Greener Screen (UAE), Iraqi Cinema (Iraq), IEFTA (Monaco), Lagoonie Film Production (Egypt),  MAD Solutions (Egypt, UAE, Lisbon) and its two affiliated companies (MAD Celebrity and MAD Distribution),  Malmö Arab Film Festival (Sweden), Neom (Saudi Arabia), Pan East Media (Jordan), The Imaginarium Films (Jordan) and The Latin Arab International Film Festival (Argentina).


 


 


 


Furthermore, the ACC and its partners present five cash and in-kind awards within the second Red Sea International Film Festival’s Red Sea Souk Project Market to support filmmaking in the Arab world. 


 


The ACC presents two invitations for producers to participate in the 2023 Rotterdam Lab, while the ART will present two cash awards worth $50,000 each – one for a Saudi Arabian project in development or production and the second for a non-Saudi Arabian one.


 


 


Additionally, MAD Solutions will present a grant worth $50,000 for marketing and distribution in the Arab world.


The ACC’s partners are also


 


 


participating with several films in the festival’s competitions, parallel programs, and the Red Sea Souk, with HANGING GARDENS by Film Clinic and DIRTY DIFFICULT DANGEROUS and NEZOUH by MAD Solutions competing in the festival’s Official Competition. 


 


 


Meanwhile, ALAM movie by MAD Solutions and Lagoonie Film Production, along with the former’s UNDER THE FIG TREES and THE DAMNED DON’T CRY will be featured in the Festival Favorites section.


 


 


Also, MATCHSTICK and CASTING by MAD Solutions will be featured in New Saudi/New Cinema Shorts 2.


 


 


Additionally, Ameer Fakher Eldin’s YUNAN (Germany, Palestine, France, Italy, Syria) and Amr Gamal’s The Burdened (Yemen, Sudan, Saudi Arabia) by MAD Solutions will be featured in the Red Sea International Film Festival’s Work-In-Progress Showcase – Souk Selection.


 


 


Furthermore, prominent producer Rula Nasser will be participating in the Project Market Jurey. 


 


 


Moreover, Co-Founder of MAD Solutions Alaa Karkouti and Christian Mouroux – the Latin Arab International Film Festival’s representative – will join the networking sessions in the distribution section, while CEO of Lagoonie Film Production Shahinaz Elakkad will join the networking sessions in the production section.


 


 


The Arab Cinema Center (ACC) is a non-profit organization based in Berlin and founded by MAD Solutions in 2015. The ACC provides networking opportunities with representatives of companies and institutions specialized in co-production and international distribution, among others. 


The organization’s activities vary between film markets, stands, pavilions, networking sessions, one-on-one meetings bringing together Arab and foreign filmmakers, welcome parties, and meetings with international organizations and festivals. It also publishes the Arab Cinema Magazine, which it distributes at leading international film festivals and markets.


 


 


It is worth noting that a newsletter subscription is now available on the ACC’s website, allowing users to obtain digital copies of the Arab Cinema Magazine, as well as news on the ACC’s activities, notifications of application dates for grants, festivals and offers from educational and training institutions, updates on Arab films participating at festivals, exclusive news on the Arab Cinema LAB, and highlights from the ACC’s partners and their future projects.


Additionally, the ACC launched the Arab Cinema Directory in English on its website, which is a comprehensive cinema directory that provides multiple tools in one place for the first time in order to enhance easy access to information on cinema to film makers inside and outside the Arab world. 

 


 


 


 


It also aims to facilitate the connection between Arab films and filmmakers and the international market, helping international filmmakers to easily identify Arab cinema productions.



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Daesh claims attack on Pakistani envoy in Kabul

Daesh claims attack on Pakistani envoy in Kabul


Author: 
article author: 
AFP
Sun, 2022-12-04 02:51

KABUL: The Daesh group claimed responsibility Saturday for an attack on Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul, which Islamabad decried as an “assassination attempt.”
A security guard was wounded in the attack Friday in the Afghan capital.
In a statement cited by jihadist monitor SITE, Daesh’s regional chapter said it had “attacked the apostate Pakistani ambassador and his guards.”
Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has called it “an assassination attempt” on the head of the mission, and demanded an investigation.

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World
Tags: 
Afghanistan
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