“Football Arenas in the Middle East and North Africa: Battlegrounds for Political Control”, is authored by James M. Dorsey. The chapter discusses how since the late 19th and early 20th centuries, doing fandom has played a central role in the formation of nation states and regimes in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in ratifying and shaping ethnic identities and political demands for independence, liberties and rights. The chapter shows how during the late twentieth century, Middle Eastern and North African leaders have enlisted sports to attain independence, strengthen their hold on centres of power and further their political aims, even as at times the stadium turned into the site of anti-government protest. The age-old ability of autocratic leaders to continue in their ways was significantly restricted at the beginning of the twenty-first century with the rise of militant, battle-hardened political groups of football fans and the Ultras, which challenge the repressive regimes’ power centres and persistently and doggedly confront autocrats’ need to control all public space (as in the protest sites, Tahrir Square in Egypt and Taksim Square of Istanbul.) In the course of intense and sometimes violent change, their struggle turns football and the stadium into a battleground demanding political control, increased political freedom and equal economic opportunity.
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The Israeli clubs are also discussed in Sorek’s chapter in this part.
Per its Wikipedia entry, lyrics to “Kassaman” were composed by Moufdi Zakaria (born Zekri Cheikh, 12 June 1908–17 August 1977), an Algerian activist, poet and writer. He wrote “Kassaman” while in prison in 1955. For the lyrics in English translation see: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/algerian-national-anthem-kassaman-%D9%82%D9%8E%D8%B3%D9%8E%D9%85%D9%8B%D8%A7-qassaman-lagu-kebangsaan-algeria.html.
The last stanza is as follows:VerseVerse Shouts home from the battlefield. Listen and answered them a call! Let it be written with the blood of fighters And be read to future generations. Oh, Glory, we hold out our hand to you, We are determined that Algeria shall live- Be our witness-Be-Be our witness our witness!
This is a paraphrase by the Times of London, June 21, 1996, of a maxim attributed to nineteenth century Prussian military strategist, Carl von Clausewitz, saying that “war is the continuation of politics by other means”.
The term, neo-patriarchal literally means “under the father’s control”. In the social sciences it denotes a social order (relationships included) in which the dominant authority is in the hands of the men, granting them power and excessive rights.
The Ultras designate militant fans characterised by their fanatical support and elaborate, choreographed artistic displays. The first group with traits of the Ultras, supporters of Ferencivaros TC, was founded in Hungary in 1929. Most scholars begin their timeline with the emergence of groups in Italy that called themselves Ultras in the late 1960s, from where the phenomenon spread across Europe. See the cases of Ultras in Hamburg’s St. Pauli FC and Tel Aviv’s Hapoel FC (discussed in Siny, Regev, respectively, part “Claiming a Foothold in Spaces Beyond the Stadium”).
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Examples include the distinct political activities of fans in the creation of the gay movement in the 1950s or fans of Joss Whedon of the cancelled television show, Firefly, who continue to gather every year to organise the fund raiser, “Can’t Stop the Serenity,” on behalf of the women’s rights and advocacy organisation, Equality Now.
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Dorsey, J.M. (2020). Football Arenas in the Middle East and North Africa: Battlegrounds for Political Control. In: Rapoport, T. (eds) Doing Fandom. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-46870-5_11
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