Some of the world’s most well known sportsmen have voiced their anger and anguish at the ongoing violence against Palestine and expressed solidarity with the beleaguered people of the historic region. The ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine has left dozens of people dead and injured with several of them being little children.
Among the many sportsmen who have expressed concern and fury at the tragic loss of lives is the legendary M M A fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov. The fighter who is famously known as The Eagle took to social media to lash out at the death and destruction that is being wrecked and the loss of civilian lives.
“You don’t need to be a Muslim to stand up for Gaza. You need to be a human,” he stated.
Egypt’s star footballer Mo Salah wrote: “I am calling on all the world leaders including the Prime Minister of the country that has been my home for four years (meaning the UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson), to do everything in their power to make the violence and killing of innocent people stop immediately. Enough is enough.” Strong words indeed from this accomplished footballer who is well known and respected throughout the world.
France’s World Cup winning footballer Paul Pogba who is one of the most famous players in the world and represents Manchester United in the English Premier league, stated, “The world needs peace and love. Let us all love one another and pray for Palestine.” Several former and current athletes have also expressed outrage at the atrocities being committed against families, women and children.
Another footballer Riyad Kareem Mahrez who plays for Manchester City in the EPL Tweeted a picture of the Palestine flag with the hashtag, “SaveSheikhJarrah”. His post got more than 65,000 re-tweets. Mahrez who was born in France has his roots in Algeria and represented the North African country in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In 2016 he was named African Footballer of the Year.
Cricketers have not kept quiet either. With the death toll in Gaza increasing steadily, many cricket players expressed their frustration and called for an immediate end to the violence. Pakistan captain Babar Azam tweeted: “Prayers for the people of Palestine. We just have to be human to stand up for humanity.” And he attached a photo of little children to his post.
Rashid Khan of Sunrisers Hyderabad, the leg spinner from Afghanistan, said that there was no crime more heinous than the killing of a child. Cricketer Hashim Amla of South Africa compared the struggle of the Palestinian people to that of former South African President Nelson Mandela and his lifelong battle against injustice.
South Africa’s fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, West Indian Darren Sammy and India’s Irfan Pathan were among the other cricketers who have come out in the open to criticise the violence and express their sympathy and unity with the people of Palestine. France’s ace footballer Franck Ribery and Egyptian’s footballing legend Mohamed Aboutrika have also condemned the violence.
With so many celebrities from the world of sport standing united to speak for the Palestinian cause, one hopes that the violence and bombing that is being witnessed in the region will soon be calmed and loss of lives will be stopped.
Abhijit Sen Gupta is a seasoned journalist who writes on Sports and various other subjects.