Representing the Three Million

Posted: June 15, 2013 in Football Campaigning

Republica Internationale FC proud to once again represent the 3 million refugees of Palestine at this year’s Refugee Council tournament in Leeds. It has to be said though Joe – in this photo you look a bit too proud!

PSC_2013-06-15 12.17.14

Republica players have toured in Palestine, where we met so many of those who have been refugees since their lands were occupied 1948 (and who were in many cases displaced again by the 1967 war ), that the least we can do is to represent their cause in this small symbolic way alongside the other refugee communities of Leeds. I know we could be accused by some of pretentious posturing (well certainly Joe could in the photo), but there was a tournament and a chance to stand up for a cause, and credit to our players for doing so I reckon. There has been so little opposition to the apartheid state of Israel hosting this month’s UEFA European Under-21 championship. Football needs to stand up for the Palestinians and say that it is not acceptable for the finals to be hosted there.  A collection was made on the day for the Leeds Palestine Solidarity group, to hopefully fund more ‘Boycott Israeli Apartheid’ publicity.

20th June every year was declared World Refugee Day in 2000 by a special United Nations General Assembly Resolution, having previously been commemorated as African Refugee Day in a number of African countries.

In the UK, Refugee Day is celebrated as part of Refugee Week, a nationwide festival designed to promote understanding and to celebrate the cultural contributions of refugees, and features many events such as music, dance and theatre. Football, however, does not do enough to celebrate this week, and the fact that it is outside the professional football season should not be an excuse.

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