Middle East Research and Information Project: Critical Coverage of the Middle East Since 1971

Sports

Running as Resistance in Occupied Palestine

Joshua Stacher 05.3.2018

The Palestine Marathon, like its counterparts elsewhere, is meant to be a feel-good event. But it also has a political point: to highlight restrictions on movement for all Palestinians under Israeli occupation.

The Battle of Egyptian Football Fans Against Dullness

Ultras, or organized groups of football fans, represented an influential faction of the Egyptian revolutionary multitude in 2011. The ultras’ long experience of street fights with police at stadiums aided the revolutionaries in achieving many victories over riot cops in the early days of the January 25 uprising and subsequently. And the ultras’ combat prowess was not their only contribution to the uprising. More important was the carnivalesque character of their resistance, which transformed the protest scene into something more colorful, vital, choreographed and performative.

Hybrid Loyalties at the World Cup

David Mcmurray 06.15.2014

The World Cup raises nationalist (make that nativist) sentiment to a fever pitch all around the Mediterranean Sea basin. But nowhere does the temperature run higher than in France and Algeria (as Martin Evans discusses at length in this article).

Stay Off the Street

In a recent Slate article, Anne Applebaum makes the case that Egypt’s presumptive president-to-be ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi should look to India, Brazil or South Africa, rather than the United States or other industrialized states, for examples of how to “do” democracy. She rightly notes that Sisi’s argument that Egypt isn’t ready for democracy is an old standby for authoritarian regimes.

Football Matters in Jordan

Curtis Ryan 06.24.2013

Celebrations rocked Gaza and the West Bank when Muhammad ‘Assaf, who grew up in the Khan Younis refugee camp in Gaza, won the region-wide singing competition known as “Arab Idol.” But spontaneous street parties also broke out in many other parts of the Arab world, including in neighborhoods across Jordan.

Autumn Soldier

Amir Bar-Lev, The Tillman Story (2010).

Football and Film in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Maziar Bahari opens his documentary, Football Iranian Style (2001), at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium, where a large mural of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic until his death in 1989, peers down on the 110,000 soccer fans filling the bleachers. Like 75 percent of Iran’s population, most of the crowd is under the age of 25. Bahari’s lens focuses on a security guard chastising a dancing spectator and pushing him down into his seat. Undeterred, the young fan kisses the guard’s face and resumes his rabble rousing.

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