This text is difficult for us. Because the whole subject is one on which we cannot afford to pass judgement. Because our knowledge of the Middle East conflict with all its injustices is not sufficient for this. There are highly paid political journalists who also despair of the subject. But we are quite sure about one thing: There is no black and white in this conflict. Accordingly, it is problematic when people take a clear position. This is what happened with Omar Marmoush.
(Cover picture: Peter Böhmer)
In recent days, and especially yesterday, there has been massive violence in and around Jerusalem. The situation has now escalated to such an extent that rockets were fired by Hamas at Israel. Israel then attacked targets in the Gaza Strip. There are reports of dozens of casualties. This escalation is thus another dark chapter in the Middle East conflict and does not seem to be over yet.
What makes it so difficult to assess the situation and probably makes the Middle East conflict a very difficult topic for quite a few people: there are so many incidents, so much injustice on both sides, that it is simply impossible for us to pass judgement. Due to its highly complex history and the fact that the conflict has been going on for more than 70 years, the Middle East conflict can probably never be completely resolved. How could that be possible when two peoples claim the same territory for themselves?
(For those who would like to read through the chronology of the Middle East conflict again, we recommend this brief overview. (in German only)
So there seems to be no black and white in this conflict. Nor does there seem to be a solution, despite all international efforts. This is nothing new, and it doesn’t take a football blog from a mediocre second division team to see that. Since there is no black and white, you can expect a huge echo if someone clearly takes one side in this conflict. Especially if that person is a professional footballer. Omar Marmoush posted this story on Instagram on Tuesday morning (it has since been deleted):
The entire land of Israel is here in the pattern of the kufiya, a headscarf which is worn in the Arab world also called the “Palestinian scarf”. The message is quite clear: the land of Israel belongs to the Palestinians.
In addition, Omar Marmoush writes the following text on this:
Your invitation to our sisters – may God grant them victory.Instagram story Omar Marmoush, translated as follows
The mere fact of depicting the state of Israel with a kind of national symbol of Palestine could be interpreted to mean that Marmoush does not recognise the state of Israel. From a criminal law point of view, this should not call for the destruction of Israel, but it can certainly be read as such. That is at least problematic.
The feedback from the fan scene on this Insta-story was not long in coming:
Some tweets afterwards suggested that Omar Marmoush should not return to the Millerntor when his loan has ended.
But it is also clear that there are some voices within the FC St. Pauli fan scene who share Omar Marmoush’s views, just as there are people who feel that the exact opposite is right. The view here is directed towards Glasgow as an example. For many years, the positioning of the Celtic fan scene has been a recurring theme in the FCSP fan scene. There have been several statements and tifos openly sympathising with Palestine. The accusation of anti-Semitism is then not far away. The view of the conflict from Great Britain is completely different from that of Germany, where even within “the political left” (if it exists as such at all) there are very different opinions.
But back to Glasgow:
Or the FCSP South End Scum account, which we also hold in high regard:
These tweets are likely to provoke criticism from many. And here we are in the middle of the issue: Can civilian suffering in Palestine be considered separately from the terrorist acts of Hamas? Can one justify Israel’s retaliatory strikes? Is there black and white here, is it a chicken/egg issue? Does action always produce a reaction?
“Freedom for Palestine” would in itself be a statement that everyone could sign immediately – if there wasn’t the other side of the coin. And so it falls short as demand here.
Is it therefore completely wrong as a demand? We don’t know and are quite helpless in the face of this problem.
In addition, other professionals have also expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people. Leart Paqarada and Christopher Avevor shared the stories below on Instagram during the morning. Unlike Marmoush, they refrain from at least not recognising the state of Israel.
The way the issue is dealt with shows how diversely it is viewed within the fan scene. What is certain is that there is no right and wrong in this highly complex conflict.
We are sure we all want professional footballers to be opinionated on social media. We wish that they would not just share a few pictures of football, but that they would also draw attention to political and social problems. And we certainly want these professionals to be mature and opinionated.
However, the Middle East conflict in particular is a topic where a clear position seems anything but helpful. The history of the last 70 years has shown that. This conflict does not need more radical views that are shared. It needs understanding for each other, it needs steps towards each other. An Insta-post in which the state of Israel is not recognised or in which Palestinian symbols are used is certainly exactly the opposite of what is needed. If this post is also accompanied by the words “may God grant them victory”, then that is unacceptable.
The fact that Marmoush has already deleted the story shows that either he himself or the club have registered the feedback. It seems that those responsible have recognised the problem and it is to be expected that the club will deal with the issue. The recently published stories of Paqarada and Avevor show all the more that the club would do well to address a difficult issue. Without us being able to prescribe exactly how this should be done.
In this respect: The comments are open. We have already been able to establish here in similar situations that, despite all the different opinions, it is absolutely possible to deal with each other fairly and to discuss the matter without treating others disrespectfully. We would be very happy to have such a discussion on this topic here as well, knowing full well that this conflict can certainly not be resolved there either.
// Tim & Maik (translated by Arne)