|Saeb Jendeya stands outside the remains of his destroyed home in Shujaiya, Gaza.|
It’s hard to write in these types of circumstances. The world is talking about Palestine- but not about the epic run to Asian Cup qualification secured two months ago.
Instead, hundreds of civilians die everyday and civilian infrastructure- particularly sporting infrastructure- is being mercilessly blown to pieces. As much as I love football and my national team it seems trivial to talk about the matter now.
I used to know Shujaiyah as the neighborhood that fielded the likes of Houssam Wadi, Alaa Attieh, and Saeb Jendeya. Now it will forever be associated with a massacre against a civilian population.
Former captain and current assistant coach to the national team Jendeya is now homeless- but he is one of the lucky ones. The Palestinian Football family has lost players, coaches, referees and administrators. Children have been killed in astonishing numbers- many of them pulled from the rubble wearing shirts of their footballing idols.
Thousands of Palestinians continue to suffer in detention without trial or charge. Sameh Mar’aba chief amongst them- denied the chance of making history in the Maldives alongside his teammates.
Abdul Rahman Al-Zameli played for Al-Zeitoun of the Gazan second tier. He was killed on July 7th- while most of us were busy watching the World Cup Semifinals. He was quickly dehumanized by press outlets as a “Hamas Activist”.
This week Ahed Zaqout who played alongside Ramzi Saleh in the national team was cruelly and prematurely taken away from us. His budding career on the touchline and as a TV pundit cut short by an Israeli mortar while sitting in his apartment.
Former Referee Baha’a Al-Gharib fell victim to an Israeli airstrike as did his 16-year-old daughter. Al-Gharib had worked at Palestine TV as a producer of Hebrew-language reports.
If you would like to help please consider donating to one of the organizations listed below. I hope that we can communicate good news related to our primary focus soon.
Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund
United Palestinian Appeal